The Spinners

Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? (The Unicorns, 2003)

In Canadian, Indie Pop, Rex Baylon on January 24, 2010 at 3:33 am

Pop music has been getting a pretty bad rap these last few decades. As a genre it has been closely associated with bubblegum confection, catchy disposable fun that doesn’t amount to much, but there was a time when pop was set to save the world. When bands like The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Ramones roamed the land, and impresarios like Phil Spector were at their prime, pop music was elevated to the heights of the great works of Beethoven and Brahms.

During their short stint working together, Canadian group The Unicorns only managed to release three albums, but it is with their 2003 record, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, that guarantees the band’s place in indie pop history. The album is a lo-fi effervescent palette cleanser to all the cookie-cutter pop acts out there. The Unicorns construct their songs not out of self-consciously crafted quirks but out of sincere love for wordplay, Burt Bacharach-inspired melodies, and the charm of The Beatles during their Sgt. Peppers period.

Listening to the album, one gets the equivalent of standing in front of a Jackson Pollock painting. It all seems so simple to the point that the work looks quite slapdash, but that, I’m sure, is the genius of the work. Every change of chord and vocal pause may appear to be random but it’s there for a reason; one misstep and the entire piece is set to crumble. In an era when most pop acts are just corporate stooges bilking the unsuspecting public with their flash bang theatrics, unassuming bands like The Unicorns may be the genre’s only hope.

– Rex Baylon

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