Union Duke Golden Days
Published Aug 05, 2016Golden Days is the latest offering from Ontario festival favourites Union Duke, but it's also a fitting title for an album that sounds like summer at its finest.
Their third full-length album is packed with banjo-driven country rock songs like "Heavy Wind" but peppered with softer fare like love song "My Only Fighter." At times, Union Duke seem to be conjuring the ghost of Poco, the harmony-stacked country rock band of the late '60s and early '70s, but the album includes some unexpectedly delicate moments, like the string arrangements in "Got You On My Mind," the Beach Boys-esque harmonies on "Right For Me" and biting lyrical commentary on music listeners in the modern era on "Torn In Two": "You got a lot of records / But you don't got a record player."
Toronto's Ethan Smith (guitar), Matt Warry-Smith (ukulele, percussion), Jim McDonald (banjo), Rob McLaren (electric guitar, fiddle) and Will Staunton (bass, percussion) share vocal and songwriting duties here, and their solid singing, perfect harmonies and tight arrangements make otherwise good songs great. They manage to deliver the energy of a jam band, but in catchy, radio-play length three-minute songs.
Whether wafting out of a car window or into a beer tent, Golden Days is perfect summer listening. (Independent)