The Unicorns want you to hate them. Not in some romantic, outsider fashion that breeds sad songs in minor keys. The Unicorns want unbridled contempt. How else can you explain their name, which, comparatively, makes Belle & Sebastian sound like Smith & Wesson? How about their convoluted press releases, whimsically decorated affairs that inform you that Unicorns principals Alden Ginger and Nick Diamonds chose pink as their favorite color? And try navigating the band's Web site, done up in (what else?) pink and featuring little relevant information for fans or struggling freelance writers trying to make a coherent story out of something that is willfully, belligerently incomprehensible.
The Unicorns' music would be as easy to dismiss as the rest of the package if it weren't so beguiling. On first listen, it sounds like these guys are dilettantes, a couple of bozos trying to make a mockery of our sacred independent pop music. It doesn't take long to recognize the craft, however mangled, of Ginger and Diamonds' melted symphonies and sci-fi freakouts. Old analog keyboards make up the base of most songs, giving them a retro accessibility while paving a path for the inevitable deconstruction and mutilation of forms and melodies. This is a band that doesn't want to revive pop music but wants to exhume its body and bang on its rib cage like a pawnshop marimba. Your ears will buzz, your heart will palpitate, and you'll start to think that you, too, can make music like this. Good luck.