Where the Boxer Rebellion's 2005 debut album Exits hinted at potential, 2009's Union will inevitably draw comparisons to Coldplay, the Verve, and Radiohead. Union is less moody than Exits and not nearly as dark — the songs here are catchier and uplifting. "Flashing Red Light Means Go" opens confidently with Piers Hewitt pounding out a galloping drum beat as Nathan Nicholson sings passionately in Brit-rock's prerequisite nasal-tinged inflection, recalling bits of Liam Gallagher, Richard Ashcroft and BRMC's Peter Hayes before his falsettos athletically arch upwards in a Thom Yorke/Chris Martin croon. But it's Todd Howe's guitars that display the most versatility, jangling like John Squire of the Stone Roses one moment and howling with blissed-out shoegaze tones the next (à la Slowdive in the early ‘90s). "Evacuate" is a standout with its post-punk dance beats, buzzing guitars and Nicholson belting out his best vocal performance to date. The melodies sound endlessly ascending and there are moments of impassioned brilliance akin to some of U2's early recordings.