Glasgow-based four-piece United Fruit’s – Iskandar Stewart (vox, guitar), Stuart Galbraith (guitar, vox), Marco Panagopoulos (bass) and Dean Inglis (drums) – ‘Eternal Return’ is one of those albums that only come along every so often where every track stands out in some way, but also fit together wonderfully as a body of work.
With five years between this and their last album ‘Fault Lines’ there is always that worry that this might be the result of the band hitting a sort of collective writer’s block. There have been plenty of examples of where a band’s creative well dries up, yet they reappear a few years later with a forced new release which has clearly lost it’s spark (Bloc Party, The Libertines, The Stone Roses). However in this case it appears that it is much more that the band wanted to take time crafting an album that they felt was worthy of putting their name to.
‘Start as you mean to go on’ they say, and right from the start we’re at a blistering pace with Ghost Inside Your Head and the epic Where the Sun Beats Down, Iskandar Stewart’s vocals are strained right on the edge of breaking, an emotional delivery that feels like it could get the better of him at any moment. It’s a great evolution from the last album where the vocals were much more heavy on the reverb, sometimes muddying your ability to connect with the feeling behind the lyrics. However Stewart is far from the sole stand-out performance on the record. Some great guitar riffs from Stuart Galbraith reminiscent of the best of bands like Rival Schools add to the power and catchiness of the songs in equal measure. This particular stands out on Cog in the Wheel where Galbraith’s dissonant guitar line wonderfully raises the tension of the verse before dropping into a monster of a chorus, and then again with an earworm of a riff on How Long. Belting drums and thumping basslines from Dean Inglis and Marco Panagopoulos respectively are wonderfully intuitive with their feel of the passion of the songs, knowing exactly when to let rip into a chorus or instrumental and equally when to rein it in to let Stewart and Galbraith’s treble lines shine through.
All in all, if you’ve been like me, looking for a great rock album for this summer then United Fruit have put together the perfect album for you to tune work out, turn up the volume and air drum your entire commute home.
‘Eternal Return’ is out now.