Album Cover
The Unicorns
Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
October 21, 2003


Alien8 Recordings is mainly known for releasing noise and ambient albums - recent releases include Merzbow and Set Fire to Flames - so when they put out a lo-fi indie-pop album, such as the Unicorns' debut, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, you know it's going to be something different. And it is.

The lyrics are completely different, for one. From "I Don't Wanna Die" ("I predict I'll die in a plane crash/ Psssssssh-boom!/ I see it now/ I'll die in a car on tour") to "Ghost Mountain" ("We stepped back, oh/ but it was drawing near/ and it lunged for our throats") to "Child Star" ("You liked my latest film/ No I didn't/ Yes you did/ No I didn't/ Yes you did/ No I didn't") - when combined with the album's sort of upbeat electro-Guided by Voices sound, sung quietly and calmly by a Phil Elvrum soundalike, it creates a vaguely surreal whole that's eerily .. nice.

Another completely unique thing about the album is that nothing is repeated. From the beginning to the end, once you hear something - a lyric, a melody, whatever - you won't hear it again, and in thirty seconds, the song might be completely different. The songs, rather than a standard sort of ABACA verse-chorus-verse form, are written in a sort of ABCDEFGH form, that is completely brilliant and only sometimes horribly irritating. Example: "Jellybones", 1:13 to 1:29 - a perfect highlight of the album that, once the sixteen seconds are up, is never heard again. And it's of course brilliantly followed up with whole new melodies and things, but it's just too excellent a segment for it never to be heard again.

Minor problems aside, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? is something too rare these days - pop music that's original, even novel, while still being completely accessible and keeping a sense of humor. For every by-the-numbers lo-fi pop album released, God kills a unicorn. Please, think of the Unicorns.

Noah Jackson

Track List

  1. I Don't Wanna Die
  2. Tuff Ghost
  3. Ghost Mountain
  4. Sea Ghost
  5. Jellybones
  6. The Clap
  7. Child Star
  8. Let's Get Known
  9. I Was Born a Unicorn
  10. Tuff Luff
  11. Inoculate the Innocuous
  12. Les Os
  13. Ready to Die