So I had a recent dilemma. I received this album in the mail. My first reaction was the label. "Red Scare?" Is this some kind of communist bullshit? We here at Punknews.org have no intention of spreading facism and government oppression. Take that on over to KarlMarxnews.org...
But I have an obligation, and after careful examination of said label, discovered they have some quality bands signed. So after long discussions at the Punknews.org corporate headquarters, we decided to proceed with the review.
Apparently, the Falcon is a group a musicians attempting to finally discover musical success after several failed attempts. The band gained a small surge of hype, for one reason or another, after their debut EP gained some rather positive reviews. We've discussed how this occurence slipped under our corporate radar in many Monday morning board meetings. We attempted to search Ticketmaster to find their next tour, as such a highly successful band MUST be constantly touring, but alas, came up short.
End attempted gimmick review.
Many of you have been feverishly anticipating Unicornography like it was the second coming of Christ. With hype such as this, its purely bound to be terribly overrated, right? We'll see...
Briefly, for those of you new, welcome, and here's the lowdown. The Falcon consists of Brendan Kelly (the Lawrence Arms, Slapstick), Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio, Slapstick), Neil Hennessey (the Lawrence Arms) and a little bit of Todd Mohney (formerly of Rise Against). The general sound can be described as high-energy, sarcastic Midwestern punk. Similar to Dillinger Four, and obviously the Lawrence Arms. Anyways...
Let's get right down to it, this is a fun album. Not to say the musicianship or lyrics are in anyway lacking, because both are top notch, for what's expected. Just don't expect this to be the life-changing album many have made it out to be. The only life-changing impact it may have on you is drinking too much while listening and doing something stupid (insert legal disclosure on behalf of Red Scare, the Falcon and Punknews.org for no liability, blah blah blah).
Right away, Unicornography starts with a track you'd almost expect, if that makes any sense. "The Angry Cry of the Angry Pie" has that quick, uptempo pace, shout-along lyrics and subtle breakdown into mellow bridge that would easily make it fit anywhere in the Lawrence Arms catalog. Then things get weird. "Blackout" starts with this folk-ska riff, which again, gives you Brendan's almost trademark gravelly vocals. Fellow 'Org editor Justin August explains the ska impression better than anyone I've spoken to yet:
"Ska with 'ohs and ahs' instead of horns."The award for best obscure track name to match the song's overall attitude..."The La-Z-Boy 500"...though there's nothing lazy about how incredibly mellow, yet exciting this song is. Again, it has a kind of folk-rock flow to it that brings older Against Me! to mind (rumor has it Tom was originally asked to be a member of the Falcon, so this isn't too far of a stretch).
Two cuts from the band's prior EP are also re-recorded and included here. Normally, such a move would draw criticisms from many, but they actually sound BETTER and fit in nicely with the rest of the group. The only oddity in the group would be "R.L. Burnouts, Inc.," a slower-paced number that while still enjoyable, includes some guitar riffs/solos that would fit easily in the next Coors commercial.
The album's climax comes in the semi-title track, "The Unicorn Odyssey," maybe the greatest Slapstick song never written and/or recorded. A pleasantly upbeat jam that might even be skank-able. Dust off those skinny ties and checked clothing.
Closing this exciting, yet relaxed ride is "When I Give the Signal, Run!," which again brings in the mellow, 3rd-wave riffs, mixed with the continuing folk-punk theme consistant through the album, then exploding into a chorus worthy of wasted night of drinks and laughs with friends. However, it then blends into low-key breakdown of hums, whistles and slurred vocals, reinforcing my overall opinion that this album is the ska/Midwestern folk-punk interpretation of GNR's Lies.
The most endearing quality of Unicornography is how it seems to cross various musical boundries. I mean, blending ska with Midwestern punk would seem ridiculous, but not to those involved. A quick glance at their prior endeavors only serves as rational thought that his album was made by a group of friends for you to share with your group of friends. Sometimes hype is justified, as the Falcon have clearly proven. Maybe the ultimate "feel-good" album of 2006.