UNION 13: Youth Betrayal and the Awakening: CD

I just wanted to quickly address something before I go into the review. In a recent interview with these guys I heard on KPFK, it was implied that Union 13 was the “first” punk band from East L.A., which the band didn’t seem to bother correcting. This fact is utter bullshit and the band knows full well that it is. Union 13 were relative latecomers to a scene that had been chugging along nicely back when they were still in diapers. They might do well to remember the 4th of July gig they played six years ago with Fish Head, Peace Pill and Butt Acne, not to mention a show later that night that also included Misled and the Thrusters on the bill. All of these bands were firmly established in the East L.A. punk scene when Union first came along, and there were bands long before the bands I just listed, and so on. I don’t mean all this as an attack or a diss of Union. I wholeheartedly support their musical efforts, partly because they are from my neighborhood and partly because I like their music. The truth is, though, that the only thing they were “first” at as an East L.A. punk band was being signed to Epitaph and a lot of people and bands, from the Stains to Circle One to the Brat, would probably take exception to their revision of their history. That long-winded diatribe aside, this is a doozy of a third album here from these guys. Most of the songs blur by at virtually the same velocity of their early demo, and yet are mature enough to transcend the “three-note rule” for hardcore songs. There is a hint of melody in the songs, but not enough to make you go “oh yuck!” It’s good to see that they’ve managed to stay the course and not delve into the “post-hardcore” emo cesspool. Highly recommended.

 –jimmy (Epitaph, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026)