CD Review: These United States

Everything Touches Everything (United Interests)

Everything Touches Everything is an exceedingly upbeat record. The tracks are bright and lush, the compositions are major-key and the lyrics are unself-consciously positive. Even breakup songs are exuberant for these These United States, who penned the album in the glow of the 2008 presidential election. "I Want You to Keep Everything" opens Everything disarmingly with its brisk beat and soaring guitar lead-in. It's not until about halfway through the song that you realize it's about the end of a relationship. Gushing romanticism, gaily plinking piano and "whoa" choruses define the title track, which earnestly quotes Rainer Maria Rilke: "It is breathtaking/Just to be here." Meanwhile, "Conquest and Consequence" shuffles through an indie-pop take on a honky-tonk rambler, with twangy guitars, shimmering pedal-steel highlights and a cryptic tale of truth, deception and the difficulties to be found in each. "Good Bones" is an overt political metaphor, with a pretty face standing in for the potential of the American spirit, its southern-fried power-pop ringing like an anthem. "Good Night Wish" closes the album with nearly eight minutes of the band extending its well-wishing to the whole world. Nicholas Hall

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