The Unicorns and Constantine

Listening to the Unicorns' debut, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone, it's hard to tell whether the silliness is a cover for the morbidity or vice versa. Maybe being morbid and silly is just the same thing after all. The album is akin to an acid-laced roll of cotton candy and not only in terms of its lyrics. The songs unspool in seemingly free-form variations of synth hooks, erupting rainbows of mega pop at seemingly random intervals. It's the most subversively structured indie rock since Pavement hit the scene, and likewise, where other records may take a few listens before they grow on you, Who Will Cut Our Hair gets its hooks in immediately but requires several turns on the stereo before you can figure out why. Live, the three-piece dig into their strange but compelling material with joie de vivre bordering on madness, such that an audience sing-along with an un-chorus like "I hate you, I hate you, too" doesn't even register as weird. It's sort of like being in the head of a particularly cheerful victim of Tourette's Syndrome, and even if that's not the kind of bizarre magic that turns you on, it's worth experiencing.
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Maya Singer

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