Oakland based Unity‘s debut, self-titled album is a consistent and cohesive set of tunes that culls sounds and tempos from a number of genres to craft a classic, but fresh sound. Unity is undoubtedly a rocking album, but much of the harder edged tunes don’t show up until the second half of the record. Nevertheless, the EP’s opener “Oops” features a steep drop from a jangly garage-pop dream into a brief moment of incendiary, frantic riffs that drag the tempo along with them in one of Unity‘s heavier moments.
Unity handles such tick-tock precision with a skillful nonchalance that reveals the inherent tension in creating a union of two guitars or voices as even the slightest variations in tone or pitch create moments of dramatic audio tension. On “Comes to You”, the voices of multiple singers blend and break melodically in a raw, emotional way that adds a verisimilitude to the entire album. The varying vocal styles present throughout Unity ably convey everything from the romantic malaise of a song like “Nothing” to the raucous energy of “Calories”. On tracks such as “Peace of Mind” and “Deep in Thought” there is not an abundance of lyrics, but what lyrics there are have been distilled into short phrases that, when repeated as a verse or chorus, become catchy ruminations and reflections on lyrical themes.
Just as the vocals of Unity ran a gamut of styles, so do its guitars which at times chime, jangle, or roar across the album. The bass and drums have their moments in the spotlight with a brief flourish here or riff there, but what truly must be noted is how both bass and drums fill just as much sonic room as necessary on each track, be it intimate or epic, without ever sounding out of place. The production of Unity is as skillfully raw as its instrumentation and vocals as brief bits of feedback or noise ascend from sonic imperfections to integral pieces of the moments and feelings captured in the recordings of the songs.
Overall, Unity the album is a piece of pop music art befitting of Unity the band which is known for the trademark artwork of member Jeffrey Cheung, whose art appears on the album’s cover.