Even though “Best Friends?” came out in 2010, it was actually recorded back in 2003. That makes “United We Stand” BRAD’s first new album in nine years. Obviously the band members all have other obligations… not in the least Stone Gossard with Pearl Jam. But apparently the band had such a good time in the studio this time around, they vowed to get together and record something once a year. Which – listening to “United We Stand” – is not the worst idea ever.
The songs on here range from grungy to poppy and even a little rootsy at times. The only constants are Gossard’s solid guitar work and Shawn Smith’s vulnerable vocals. Other than that, pretty much everything goes. First single “A Reason To Be In My Skin” is not bad but not the best song on the album. The mellow “Bound In Time” and the acoustic “Needle And Thread” both trickle along nicely while tracks such as “Last Bastion” and “Tea Bag” are decent enough rockers. Yet there’s almost always this something that prohibits the songs from becoming memorable. They can do it though… just listen to “Make The Pain Go Away” and try not to be moved. Cool album but not quite a stand-out.