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Gathering more hype before their debut than some bands get in a lifetime, Intervurt live up to every ounce of it on Union, which is everything the Killers wanted to be, but weren't. The template is there: weepy, sulky vocals ever ready to soar to a falsetto; adrenaline-pumping rhythms; post-punk guitar lines almost too primitive to sport any hooks, but in fact packing plenty; a touch of synths in the background. A good dose of My Chemical Romance-inspired emo doesn't hurt, either, but the thing that makes Intervurt stand apart from both name-checked references is that the drama on Union is a genuine thing, not a calculated fit of hysteria. Even the dark synths smack of Depeche Mode, not disco (a nice move, actually), and on the whole, every song is taut with tension the way no band was able to pull off since Placebo -- though Intervurt trade Molko and company's mannerisms for a grim and laconic approach well summed up by the cover art's gray sky and cold glass imagery. The song structures are two-bit simple -- verse, chorus, repeat, take a breath, charge into the next cut -- and there's about as much variety as in business district architecture, with the very few basic elements repeated in various combinations throughout -- but Union is one of those albums where it simply doesn't matter. Smooth and catchy enough to scorch the airwaves, yet also packing a small catharsis within every song, Intervurt's debut is everything an alt-rock record should be, and then some.

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