Against the Grain

by: The Veer Union

The Veer Union eschew the party-hearty theatrics of Hinder for a more straightforward approach to hard rock, replete with impassioned vocals and pummeling, distorted guitars. Against the Grain is standard hard rock fare, neither too cocky for its own good nor too sensitive to pack a punch, and fans of the genre's middle of the road torch bearers should have no qualms welcoming the Veer Union into the fold. That being said, the band's biracial lineup is a good deal more interesting than the music it creates, as frontman Crispin Earl is one of the few black vocalists to appear on the hard rock landscape in years. Earl's skin is inconsequential to his band's sound, of course, but the Veer Union nevertheless experienced a good deal of difficulty securing a record contract, with many labels allegedly balking at the prospect of promoting a biracial band to a historically white audience. Perhaps that's why the bandmates don't concern themselves with recounting the previous weekend's sexual escapades -- they leave such hedonism to Hinder and Buckcherry, turning instead to melancholic lyrics that find hope amidst a sea of grungy rubble. Veteran post-grunge producer Greg Archilla, who previously cut albums for the likes of Matchbox 20 and Collective Soul, enhances the approach with some basic knob twiddling, adding a touch of reverb to Earl's voice and creating a sonic wall between the ballads and the rockers. This has all been done before, and Against the Grain certainly doesn't do it any better than many of the band's influences. Regardless, the Veer Union may appeal to those looking for similar music with a slightly brighter outlook. ~ Andrew Leahey

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