Any relationship has its peak. Much of my life has been an ongoing argument against the implications of this statement.
Has my relationship with Tunabunny peaked yet? I like to think not. I once wrote of The Pastels that “the day I stop listening to The Pastels is the day I stop listening to music”. I never expected to prove the truth in that statement. I was trying to express how important their presence was to me in my world then (and thus the memory of their presence is to me in my world now). Charlotte has given up telling me I should phone people; the unarguable truth that I am far happier when I am speaking to someone then when I am stuck in this terrible stasis. When I first encountered them, Tunabunny seemed a way out of the stasis that dampened my world then (“WHY AREN’T THESE PEOPLE MY FRIENDS?” I screamed to the world at large, cast adrift on memory bliss). They were my own personal B-52s. My surrogate Pastels (not musically). Gleeful and unafraid, so unmediated… once again I found myself drawn to all that I am not. Expressive in a myriad ways. I passed over the opportunity to collaborate with them (I never believe people when they give me compliments). I even passed over the opportunity to monetarise or validate that website some of us found ourselves playing out in tandem. Fun is fun, until it stops.
Has my relationship with Tunabunny peaked yet? I like to think not. Their new album has 28 tracks, and is called PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland Jr. The album sleeve (I am not cheating) has to be some form of colourful cut-up collage full of rainbows and the odd old photograph. It has taken me over 15 months to listen to it. I have not been occupying the correct headspace, do not want to dilute the magic. I am still not occupying the right headspace but their music right now tricks me into thinking that perhaps I have been all along and simply was not aware (like the problem with the telephone or stepping outside the front door). Not afraid, no. I knew Tunabunny would not be lacking, not in any respect. (This review would have merited 10 stars even if the music had been as unimaginative as the new Katy Perry album, even if it had always gone unlistened-to.) I knew that I would be lacking, that I continue to be lacking, that I have always been lacking. Here’s the one deal about Tunabunny you should understand, ok? Secret pathways through secret walled gardens are never really secret. It’s just that people walk by them every day, never knowing when to look.
Let’s talk about the music then. The voices and guitars are psychedelic, from what I understand of the description. (Choose your own.)
When I talk to my students (I feel like Slartibartfast here) I instruct them to never forget the pull-out quote for the matinee poster when they attempt to review music (you can’t, you really can’t). I have ALWAYS WANTED TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE’S LOVE FOR FLEETWOOD MAC. I don’t mean understand of course – that is patronising. Envious of. No negative connotations here.
PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland Jr abides. It could be the same track repeated 28 times, but I suspect it is not.
Yesterday, I was reminded that my love for strange rhythmical music is deep-rooted. Please do not take that as assumptive.
Today, I am reminded again.
My own personal Fleetwood Mac. Rock’n’roll nuns. Romantic, confessional, sprawling, sun-filled. Solid-gold pop and super-slick production, MTV moon-women. Unsettled twitchiness. Quiet tension to florid solos; grunts, moans and scampering guitar riffs; a fractured retelling of time in rehab; repeated lurches from breeziness to angst and sparkle to gloom.
The gloss can’t hide the turmoil, no matter how thickly it’s applied.
I write this blog entry and I am less than a third of the way through the album; or perhaps I have listened to it five times already. And just when I’m signing off they begin to play The Beatles.
The Hippo Express™ (Daniel Thackray, 2017)
You are aware that I quite deliberately stole half this review from somewhere. (Beyoncé voice: “I’m not sorry”.) Thank you for the lovely music.