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We Were the States

Believe the Thieves

(Chicken Ranch; US: 11 Mar 2008; UK: Available as import)

Labeled as “post-punk” to some, We Were the States present a plethora of polished pop punk. Whether the band offers up “Up Your Sleeve”—which sounds like a cross of The Walkmen and Mooney Suzuki—the band nails “Red Lion” with a tightness and precision that brings to mind early Von Bondies. Put the real payoff is the foot-stomping “Till Morning Comes” led by the fun, sing-along chorus vocalist Justin Webb leads. We Were the States slow the record down somewhat with a stellar, slow-building “See If I Care” that could have been culled from The Killers songbook. Following the lengthy, groove-tinged “Girl, You’re Not a Thief”, the band opts for a leaner, garage rock gem entitled “Been Done Wrong” which is quite alright. Even a throwaway track such as “Hard” is alluring with its slow, breezy feel after nearly 10 songs of intensity. And if they haven’t won you over yet, the two-minute blazing “Please Be Quiet” should leave you talking about this group.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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