It’s Not Dead Yet
On The Dead Age, Unicycle Loves You presents an homage to My Bloody Valentine that is chunkier and harsher than other noise-pop groups these days. The heavenly sheen and angelic vocals show up, but it’s all buried in flirtations with early Dinosaur, Jr.
Yuck are probably the most popular purveyors of this sort of revival, but Brooklyn-based Unicycle pulls it off much better. Instead of following a template (albeit a great one) without much deviation, Unicycle takes the template and molds it into something prettier, harsher and bolder. Oh, and catchier, too: Pushing through that grit are hooks galore.
Songs like “We Never Worry” and “Face Tattoo” take on that bluster, burying the vocals in as much noise as everything else, keeping them from taking away from the wash of distorted guitars and thumping percussion. There’s a tension in the mix, like a woodchipper grinding some particularly raw materials.
“Endless Bummer” has the sunshine of Beach Boys’ popular 1970s compilation of a similar name, but the feel is a bit more like hanging out at a crusty, city lake beach than one of those cool ones on the coast where all the lovely people congregate.
In keeping with its genuflection toward the altar of that pre-Clinton era, Unicycle evokes David Lynch soundtrack composer Angelo Badalamenti on “Any Daydream Morning.” There is some type of MGMT vibe here, but the general mood is a slow, haunting burn the likes of which Laura Palmer would find insatiable.
Unicycle have upped the noise on this latest release, and largely for the better. The result is beauty with cracks, aggression with reserve and hooks buried amid chaos. If it keeps this up, it’ll be the one to which future bands are compared.