The Unicorns Do Us A Favour

Artist: The Unicorns
Published: 2004-01-15

It's hard to tell whether or not The Unicorns really are as pretentious as they come off to be.

After all, their show on December 13th at The Opera House in Toronto marked the completion of a solid month of touring. They allowed themselves only one night's rest during their trek across Canada (with a few stops south of the border), a grueling schedule bassist Alden Ginger says was manageable only with the help of drugs.

Plus, by now they are probably used to having their asses kissed by music journalists all over the country. Reviews for their second album Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? have been overwhelmingly positive, and whose ego wouldn't inflate just a little after all that good press? Add into the mix the fact they were just signed to a major label last month and their holier-than-thou attitude becomes a little easier to understand.

But maybe it's not fair to interpret their cryptic, yoda-like responses and apparent disdain for anyone but themselves as an attitude problem. It could just be that it's hard to tell when any one Unicorn is actually being serious. Drug use aside, Nicholas "Neil" Diamonds confesses they owe much of their touring survival to Satan, having sold their souls to the Evil One. In return, says the Unicorn's singer and multi-instrumentalist, "he plays lead guitar."

"And he is hot." says drummer Jaime Thompson.
"He's not killing babies anymore," Diamonds adds.

Clearly, The Unicorn's have a solid grasp on tongue-in-cheek humour. But Diamonds certainly seemed to take genuine pleasure in chewing an apple into the microphone rather than cooperate during sound check. And Thompson wasn't kidding in his belief that reporters should be grateful to be granted time with the band.
"You (the media) aren't doing us any favours," he says "We're doing you a favour." A fairly lofty notion for a Canadian band just starting to make a name for themselves.

Regardless of their difficult-to-interpret personalities, the positive reviews of The Unicorns' Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? are well deserved. It's smart and sophisticated, despite its candy coated exterior. The album makes you want to think and their live shows make you want to fight, which lends credibility to the bands' references to Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomies in their music - a comment that could easily be interpreted as ridiculous posturing coming from other musicians.

The Unicorns have never been shy about the difficulties of touring and living as a unit for so long and Thompson admits that he's "looking forward to looking forward to touring again." A months' worth of holiday is hopefully enough time to provide that relief because they hit the road again in January. And as long as the band doesn't implode they'll be back in the studio sometime this spring. Jerks or not, here's hoping they make it there.

Writer: Erica Basnicki

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