Leadoff single from "I Sincerely Apologise For All the Trouble I've Caused", "State of the Union" is probably the fiercest and most polarizing piece on Ford's debut. While most of his pieces are inclined to look inward, this piece is an outright attack on U.S. government policies-- corporatism, preemptive wars, etc. The piece itself follows Ford's general pattern-- starts hushed and builds energy over time, swirling acoustic guitars, pianos, gentle percussion and pizzicato strings until about halfway through where a distorted bass and driven backbeat takes over. Ford vocally works himself into a controlled frenzy-- always sort of hinting at coming unhinged. It's a fine performance in all.
The single is backed by a pair of unreleased tracks and a video of a performance of the title track. Both are something that would have been to the benefit of Ford's debut record-- "A Short Song About Shoes" mixes banjos, steel guitars, harmonicas and a driving backbeat set the stage for a downright lilting song whereas "A Short Song About Stars" feels like a blues filtered through British folk. My only real complaint about "I Sincerely Apologise..." was the lack of diversity and these would have solved that. The video clip of "State of the Union" is a performance a bit more reflective of the live rendition of the piece-- Ford paces around a room picking up instruments and adding them to the array of loops to create the instrumental build of the piece. It's a decent enough performance although it ends up being a bit more laid back than the album version and fails to capture the energy the piece did have when I saw it live.
As singles go, this is a pretty good one-- given it's only available from overseas, I'd think the only reason you'd get this is if you've picked up "I Sincerely Apologise For All the Trouble I Caused" and you want more. It certainly makes a nice companion to that record.