United Steel Workers Of Montreal

Three On The Tree

BY Nicole VilleneuvePublished Mar 24, 2009

The done-wrong sounds of the South rise again on the United Steel Workers of Montreal's third album, a collection of tales both big ("Shot Tower") and small ("Making Babies") that owes more to the traditional sounds of Celtic than the oft-applied alt-country tag. The impressive acoustic energy of the Montreal six-piece's live show has garnered much praise but on this, their third release, it still fails to completely translate to record. The simple rhyming structures that make up Three on the Tree grow repetitive quickly, and the 13 tracks could stand to be pared down. The key to the USWM's inherent likeability lies in their genuineness, perhaps best found in the reserved presentation of some very skilled instrumentation (holy banjo!). The three lead vocalists once again help keep the record varied; Shawn "Gus" Beauchamp's modest, matter-of-fact vocals shift the tone from the gruff weariness of Gern f. to a more youthful confidence and most memorably, take the album through a rousing, down-to-earth call-to-arms on the already classic-sounding "Rise Up," its group-chant choruses taking a stand against injustice and complacency. Another chapter in the story of life as told by the USWM.

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