Justice of the Unicorns are unrelated, as far as we can tell, to the hipster favorite bands that make up their name. Still, if pressed, we’d place them slightly closer to the Unicorns’ fey, faux-naif indie fragments than Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” friendly electro, though, they’re madder than either, no question about that. Proof? Lend an ear to album opener “Intro: Angels Descend”, with its sunny swirl of circus-y calliope, all bubbling over with children’s laughter…nice. Except that the sound goes slowly sour in the sunshine, then erupts in machine gun fire and screams. Angels with uzis, indeed. The rest of the album (recently nominated for Idolator “Worst Cover of the Year” designation) is less violent but just as twisted.
Songs, penned mainly by Rusty Dungan (ex of Tigers and Monkeys), pursue varying styles with crazy glee. The Hawaiian slide guitar and booming Motown drums of “Wild Tiger” wraps around a bizarre narrative about the reincarnation possibilities of wild tigers. And “Fake Gold” has a blues-inflected, White Stripes-ish swagger to it, though it opens with a decidedly surreal line, “We were on our way to the pearly gates/ when we passed another Taco Bell.” Jesus plays a large role in Justice of the Unicorns’ lyrical imagery, whether toting an Uzi (“Fake Gold”) or hanging with his lady (“Jesus Had a Sweet Girlfriend”). Best cut, hands down, though, is the secular and whimsical “McCarren Pool” as driven and distorted and delicious as anything on Magnetic Fields’ Distortion. Even in Brooklyn, grand visions of gods and monsters pale besides the sight of a young girl dancing under the Chinese heaven tree. Fascinating, imaginative, loosely put together, Angels with Uzis is brainy slacker pop, subversive and endlessly amusing.
// Notes from the Road
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