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Tuesday February 27, 2001

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CD Review: The Union Underground

Headline Photo

By Adam Pugh

The Union Underground

An Education in Rebellion

(Portrait Records)

Grade: C-

For music fans looking for a totally unoriginal CD filled with angst and unimaginative ideas, The Union Underground's An Education in Rebellion is the album for you.

Imagine a fistfight between bands Powerman 5000 and Nine Inch Nails. Then, have Alice in Chains attempt to break up the fight using its eerie harmonies to clear the air. What you'd get is the sound The Union Underground has produced on its debut CD. Basically, the band takes the sounds of other bands and reproduces them as its own.

Songs like "South Texas Deathride" use a drum machine to punch up the song, a concept highly reminiscent of NIN's album The Downward Spiral. Likewise, The Union's song "Natural High" more or less takes a vacation with Filter's first album, Short Bus, duplicating the band's dirty, electronic sound. Hey man, nice try.

Taking self-indulgent, misogynistic lyrics to a new low is in essence what The Union calls music. It seems Bryan Scott, the lead singer of the band, thinks the world is against him. Case in point - "Twist me with your motivation/ You make me sick/ Won't you feel my frustration?/ It's ten feet thick" from the song "Bitter." Cry me a river.

True, the lyrics convey anger, but that's about all they do. If anything, Scott has acquired a firm grip on profanity, randomly throwing four-lettered words into songs for shock value. In essence, the band has made a record that accomplishes exactly what many other hard-rock bands have already done - let the world know they are pissed off.

An Education in Rebellion doesn't live up to its name. The only type of rebellion in which this band has been educated is one against good music.