PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr is the new and fifth album from US Transcendental Dance Poppers Tunabunny, a huge adventure which sees the Athens, Georgia hailing quartet at their most poppy, darkest, experimental, and compelling. A double album breaching 28 imagination stoking tracks, it is a kaleidoscope of sound; no track like any other or pretty much any offering from the band to date, and a carousel of creative drama which pushes the listener into places they might not know exist let alone have contemplated.
Apparently PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr is “structured as a song-by-song response to The Beatles’ White Album” and through its songs explores themes such as surveillance, futility, alchemy and winter, metamorphosis and anger whilst its fourth side features a twisting song cycle about motherhood; from pregnancy to birth, through postpartum emotional desolation, to the rebirth of self. Whatever their inspiration, the album’s songs challenge and arouse physically, mentally, and emotionally ensuring you get a full and thrilling workout with the foursome of Mary Jane Hassell, Scott Creney, Brigette Adair Herron, and Jesse Stinnard.
Rather than do our usual track by track look, such its bulging size, we are going to pluck the moments which ignited the imagination most forcibly but be assured barely a moment passes within the whole release without making a potent and appealing impact. From the opening atmospherically sinister Cartesian Theater, a track which appears like an intro but is so much more, Tunabunny set the speakers and passions on fire with Incinerate. A recent single, the track is glorious; a slice of indie pop which has the head bobbing, feet shuffling, and ardour brewing within its first round of seduction. Adding one’s own breath is inevitable to a sublime chorus, the vocals a flirtatious beauty matched in temptation by the gentle swing of the sounds cradling their charm.
There is no better moment within the album but plenty of times rival the height of the superb encounter, the following Noise Problems a swift example with its post punk/new wave canter carrying a definite resemblance to eighties UK band The Passions. The stroll of the bass is as deeply appealing as the wiry jangle of the guitars, vocals again an inescapable magnetism in diversity and harmony whilst the song’s emerging discord is simply delicious.
The indie/psych pop of Seek Consequence is another major magnet; the swaying vocals siren-esque as darker hues brew and evolve behind their lyrical wiles until heatedly bubbling up with a drone like fever while Blackwater Homes rises up from a gentle melodic murmur into another virulently infectious and shadowed canter playing like a mix of Stevie Nicks and Pylon. Worryingly easy to be seduced by its haunting lures, and not for the first or last time fiercely tempting post punk bass bait, the track swiftly worms into the psyche.
The bass again grips the instincts within Oracle, its Psycho Killer like coaxing backed by shiny tendrils of guitar as vocals procrastinate; its success followed by the matching triumph of Start It where PiL meets The Breeders is a good hint to the track’s melodic post punk clamour. These tracks alone show the diversity within PCPPAIWJR, The Raincoats tinged pop clang of Nevermind The Cobblestones and the Slits scented monotone shuffle of Yellow Heart Is My Sky Sign further evidence, both tracks bringing fresh greed in a healthy appetite for the release.
A healthy addictiveness is spawned by the raw swing and charm of the boldly infectious The Way The World Works, the song a dulled yet sparkling gem in the album’s jewellery box of sound and another collusion of band and listener rarely matched outside of the album though within, the minimalistic pop of Me And Nancy, a track with an echo of The Cure on their very first outing, and the dark scuzz fuelled post punk of Pretending To Bend as well as the similarly styled but oh so different Count To Ten rise to the challenge.
There are tracks on the album which explore noise and its depths of suggestion, each inciting the imagination even when they barely grasp a handful of seconds in length; times which really test but reward the listener’s ability to compose and interpret. With further moments of never less than thoroughly enjoyable and provocative adventure across the album, songs like It Could Be Something, the absorbing and inexplicable Shiftchanger featuring Jason Jackson Wellz, and Magic January all tantalising and enthralling, things are brought to a lengthy imposingly and enjoyable close with the fuzz pop clamour of I Thought I Caught It (With You).
As suggested, every track is a fresh and rewarding twist in the landscape of PCPPAIWJR, not one of them merely filling space and all firing up ears and imagination. Not for the first time Tunabunny has provided not only a real treat to mull over and enjoy, but another new plateau in their invention and imagination.
PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland JR is out now via HHBTM Records @ http://hhbtm.com/item.php?item_id=640 and https://tunabunny.bandcamp.com/album/pcp-presents-alice-in-wonderland-jr
Pete RingMaster 12/07/2017
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