Totally Unicorn smother you with a blanket of emotional darkness on ‘I’ll Be Fine Now’. [PC: Sandra Markovic.]
You know, I’ve always felt like I should enjoy what Sydney’s Totally Unicorn do. If you’ve read enough of my stuff on KYS, you’ll know I love my chaotic and noisy hardcore; my weird and different heavy music too. So a band like them seems right up the my alley, right? No, not really. This band’s sound has just never clicked with me. Maybe it’s because I feel like I can get this kind of music, but better, from other artists, or maybe because I’ve always felt like this band was trying too hard to be different or too hard to be funny. Whatever the case may be, I’ve never been grabbed by Totally Unicorn. Until ‘I’ll Be Fine Now‘, that is.
After a couple of spins, their latest single has become so goddamn arresting to me. ‘I’ll Be Fine Now‘ is this grim, slow-burning, and bluesy dirge from the crazed NSW heavy group; a change of pace and approach, it seems. One that takes it’s sweet time getting going, but once it’s wheels start to turn and run, and once it fully hits, it absolutely feels and sounds like a rapture-level of an emotional blow was dealt. We see exactly this when after methodically grinding up over the course of three-and-a-bit minutes, slowly layering on the bass and drums, the track unloads with this heavier, discordant breakdown, just before the solemn outro pulls you right down. It’s basically a sonic downward spiral-down into misery, punctuated by biting rhythms, noisy guitars, and pained screams. There’s no love here, kid.
From the swaying, blues-tinged opening riffs that anchor everything, to Drew Gardner’s forlorn vocals about how “feeling good is just a phase they say“, vocals that nicely pair up with aforementioned riffs, this is one of the better written, yet darkest songs Totally Unicorn have ever released. ‘I’ll Be Fine Now‘ is just such a brutally honest track. There’s no bullshit metaphors getting in the way, just pure openness from Drew and what he’s been experiencing lately. This song takes that age-old approach to depression, that that sadness is “just a phase”, and promptly turns it on it’s head: stating that happiness is also just a phase. As Drew uses these backing instrumentals as a vehicle to lyrically bear his emotional scars about fleeting happiness, of feeling empty and poor, embracing of numbness, and resorting to making friends within his own head for comfort. It’s confronting, to say the very least.
This theme fittingly plays into the washed-out colours of the track’s music video, too. Created by The Art Of Fox, the bleak, cel-shaded animated clip is a nightmarish decent into loneliness, numbness and melancholia; complete with sinister clown and faux-smile imagery that makes for a highly ominous viewing experience of not being able to ascertain lasting happiness. Hop onto this depressive musical roller-coaster below:
Totally Unicorn’s new LP, ‘Sorry’, is out April 12th via The Farmer and the Owl. Catch them at the following dates:
Sunday April 21st*
Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle
Friday April 26th
Crown and Anchor, Adelaide
w/ Arse, Tiersman
Saturday April 27th
The Tote, Melbourne
w/ Arse, Würst Nürse, NoLA (Japan)
Sunday April 28th
The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
w/ Arse, Lake Myer
Friday May 3rd
w/ Arse, NoLA (Japan), Being Jane Lane
Saturday May 4th
w/ Pagan, Arse, Blind Girls, Tanned Christ, NoLA (Japan)