Label: Mighty Atom Release date: 24/10/10 Link: Official Website Union Sound Set's debut album, Start/Stop has been a long time coming. Some of us have been waiting for years, so it's exciting to finally hear it in all its glory. Each and every track leaves goosebumps - and further listenings reveal something else, something new, thrilling you all over again. It's damn near impossible to pick out individual tracks and mark them as particularly special or stand-out; each one is magnificent in its own right. Union Sound Set create a massive, full-bodied sound, upheld by brilliant vocals and blissful, soaring harmonies that catch your breath and capture your heart. The lead vocals lack vibrato, although Simpson is among the very few who actually get away without it; the vocals are rich and warm regardless. It's refreshing to hear an album where the vocals haven't been messed with. There are little imperfections here and there, giving them a reality you almost never hear these days. The secret is to keep those tiny flaws in, and thankfully they have. Despite feeling a little apprehensive about the album on the first listen, having heard it in numerous live performances over the past few years - songs this powerful need a live setting to allow them to breathe and really shine - upon subsequent playings you realise that the vastness, power and indeed the energy is still felt throughout. As with their live performances, it's tempting just to let the intensity and glittering beauty of it all wash over you - it really is just like drowning in it. The only difference here, though, is perhaps your willingness to be saved. Start/Stop mixes high energy in the current single 'Hiding Places', 'Trailing' and 'Hit To Send' with a much slower, far more intense sound in the likes of 'This Will Change Us' and 'Waiting Minds'... and all of this before the gorgeously sweet and stripped bare hidden track. In short, Start/Stop is truly amazing; a real masterpiece, loaded to the max with allure and stirring every human emotion: love, joy, pride, awe - even jealousy. Give the album a listen and fall in love with Union Sound Set again and again. Photobucket