The Unicorns

Sun March 28

Berbati's Pan

10 SW 3rd

Second perhaps only to sweatshop labor, the creation of pop music appears to be the most joyless profession this cruel world has to offer. For all of their saccharine sensibilities and sugary harmonies, those pop musicians sure do seem like a dour bunch--or so suggests the ceaseless onslaught of drab, lifeless pop records that so regularly mar the surface of journalists' desks each year. It's enough to make you forget why you loved pop music to begin with. Well, if you please, allow me to offer you a reminder: ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Unicorns--the band that could save it all.

With their second release, last year's Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, the Canadian two-cum-three piece has fallen upon a heap of justifiable critical acclaim--largely attributed to the band's seemingly left-field take on pop craftsmanship. And while theirs is a vision certainly unto itself, the Unicorns' clatter is hardly an innovative one. "So," you ask, "what exactly should I be shitting my pants about?" Shit for the same reason why the Unicorns appear to be confounding most critics. Shit for the new way. Shit because the Unicorns seem to have accomplished a feat long deemed impossible: capturing on tape an urgency that sounds as if it was as much fun to conceive as it is to listen to. And it's a rare achievement that a pop album can still feel this alive.

With hardly an album under their belt, the Montreal trio has managed an incredibly well-conceived indie pop record that somehow tightropes a balance of idiosyncratic composition, unadulterated joy, and clever cheek-tonguing--all while sidestepping the confines of a seemingly inevitable punch line. Though motivated in large part by a relentlessly silly fascination with the morbid, Who Will Cut... is charming enough to avoid toeing joke-rock territory--despite every line being delivered with a certain anxious zeal. It's just the amphetamine enthusiasm that reminds a person of what pop music supposed to feel like.