An Album I Really Really Like: “Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?” by The Unicorns


When this album came out in 2003, I found out about it the way most people did; a 8.9 review on Pitchfork.  In 2003 I was still compulsively checking Pitchfork for new sounds in my voracious post-college music binge.  There are many records from that period that have not stuck with me (Prefuse 73? The Decemberists?) but this one always creeps back into my life.  Most recently I downloaded “Who Will Cut Our Hair…” from Emusic because I had been listening to super shitty mp3s that tweaked and sputtered.  It sounded like they were encoded by a cellphone.  I instantly remembered why I liked this album so much back then; there is so much going on in each track.  Sometimes it changes up completely 2/3 of the way in.  All the crazy instrumentation, fresh sounds and humor make it a fantastic indie rock/pop/punk album, no doubt.

Here are some of my favorite tracks (even if the videos are pretty boring)

They split up after this record and 2 members of the band quickly assembled Th’ Corn Gangg which I never paid attention to but from this clip it looks like they might have been pretty decent live.

The same two dudes also went on to form the currently popular band Islands who I have also not listened to.  Perusing a little on Youtube I found one track and video that is alright.  I don’t dig it as much at “Who Will Cut Our Hair…” but it’s got some sweet poppy elements.

I don’t know if I would like “Who Will Cut Our Hair…” as much if it was released now; the context and time were as important as the music I’m sure.  I was devouring new sounds as quickly as possible.  So were my friends.  I was going to shows and talking music and expanding my audio palate.  I remember dancing at a friends house to some of the Unicorns tracks.  I remember driving to shows in Chicago listening to a burned CD of soulseeked files of this album and singing along.  I will probably come back to it again and again in the future as part of the soundtrack of my post-college years.  Good thing its more than a nostalgic trip revisiting it.  It’s a great album.

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