Who Will Cut Your Hair When We're Gone?
By: Eric Greenwood
My hatred of the Flaming Lips borders on the psychotic, so I am admittedly inherently biased against anything resembling free willy hippie jam pop garbage, which, sadly, is exactly what The Unicorns offer on this overly-hyped mess of a debut. Not being much of a fan of "whimsy" I tend to take the post-Pavement slacker pop tangent with a grain of salt; however, I take severe umbrage to affected "zaniness" disguised – and undeservedly revered – as "experimentation."
The Unicorns' songs themselves are relatively short, thankfully, so the unrelated melodic outbursts that seem catchy (until you try to hum what you've just heard) pass themselves off as "musical" in the most reduced form of the term. Such irreverence will lure all the smoked-out chodes that think Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is, well, any good at all, but for those of us who think everything that that bloated washout Brian Wilson touched after 1966 was ass, then this will most assuredly not be your cup of tea.
I'm just astounded by how bad this album actually is. It's a complete wanking nerdfest, replete with hollow political overtones and pseudo-intellectual stream of consciousness. Cheesy vocal effects run rampant like bad Ween, I imagine, to cover the off-putting, nasally double-tracked voices that will strip your skin off one layer at a time. The music just goes absolutely nowhere, dragging any semblance of amusement down with its pointless, pretentious digressions. It's so tongue in cheek; it's too clever by half.
Calculatedly lo-fi and undeniably mediocre, Who Will Cut Your Hair When We're Gone? is presumed to tout formlessness as a new interpretation of the construction of the pop song. But The Unicorns don't even go that far, of course. It's totally half-assed. What is mistaken for ingenuity is actually a failing of talent. It's not that the band chooses to ignore choruses and verses in the traditional sense; it's that the band doesn't know how to construct proper ones in the first place.
As if utter contempt for the listener's ears weren't enough, the band has the most annoying schtick imaginable. Smugness abounds in its "hilarious" on stage in-band freakouts. And paying off homeless people to impersonate you live might be funny to your five friends in the know, but to the audience it's pure masturbation. This album's inexplicable buzz is a perfect example of the fact that no matter what scene you cling to, you're in the midst of clueless sheep- just with different haircuts.