The trio of Steve Malley (vocals and guitar), Jason Etherington (bass) and Christian Alderson (drums) who hail from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne make up the band The Unit Ama who have released two albums and a handful of singles in twenty years. Their latest album `Toward` is unleashed this month and considers topics such as post-traumatic growth with insight through experience. Utilising the past to navigate towards a meaningful future. 

The album opens with `Sycamore` which is pretty eclectic and was led by a rhythmic drumbeat and bassline with quietly shared vocals floated atop. It weaves in and out as it evolves with the lyrics teasing as to something mysterious to be disclosed and as the sycamore is a symbol of strength, protection, reliability, and clarity, it may well be something significant. There`s more of a shimmer about `Stirrup` where what is shared lyrically is part spoken word and sung and seems to hint at leading an improved life and makes some suggestions as to possibly how.

`Observe Yourself` has a kind of post punk vibe melded with a splash of dreaminess but with lyrics that could be almost post-apocalyptic. We enjoy a reflective musing on `Body Keeps The Score` which is almost halfway through before the vocals join and share curious thoughts and observations.   

`Collector` has a quite delicate intro which almost sounds like a ticking clock. Another eclectic listen with some prog like elements and a kind of shamanistic enticement about the lyrical content. There`s a sort of tentativeness about `Mary` a psychedelic come folk tinged contemplative composition with a stop-start backing soundscape.

`The Folding Man` is another meandering mediative submission that does veer off with some musical soundscapes at times throughout its lifespan. This release closes with `New Page` where once again the musical backing allows a platform for some introspective lyricism. A number that I felt was about to explode but was delightfully restrained.  

`Toward` was an enjoyable introduction for me to the talents of The Unit Ama and is charged with thoughtful well-constructed songs with thought provoking lyrics. I felt there was a touch of mysticism about not only the tracks but the band as well and the album is a bit of an enigma at times.

There was much to enjoy with `Toward` and i`m sure I’ll uncover something different each time I return to listen.

Rating 8.5 /10

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