Exposé Online banner

Johnny Unicorn — Heavy Jugs to the Moon
(Bandcamp UAS 37022, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-11-14

Heavy Jugs to the Moon Cover art

It’s been several years since Johnny Unicorn gave us Angels in the Oort Cloud, but he’s been very busy, between working with Autumn Electric, recording untold thousands of short songs as Zorznijor, and guesting on other people’s albums. Here at long last is the next installment in the unpredictable Unicorn Saga. Unlike Angels, Heavy Jugs to the Moon has no lengthy epics, consisting of 22 tracks ranging from under two minutes to nearly seven, with varying instrumentation and personnel involved. It starts out with “The Heavy Overture, Pt. 2,” an instrumental of shifting meters and catchy melodies on which Unicorn plays all the instruments. For other tracks, he’s helped out by others, with Naomi Adele Smith (keys, vocals, marimba) being the most frequent collaborator. Eight different drummers (nine if you count Unicorn himself) take part, including Bob Drake on one track; of several guitarists, Max Steiner (who was on the previous album) contributes most spectacularly, with some wild playing on quite a few songs. Rather than sounding patched-together, the album has a smooth flow and some of the tracks almost run together like sections of a suite, in spite of the stylistic diversity. We get touches of new wave rock, latin, psychedelic rock, noise, 60s go-go, electronic dance music, disjointed avant-prog, catchy art-pop, and more, but there is an esthetic thread that ties it all into a unified whole, a melodic sense that manifests in different ways. I suppose some listeners might be put off by Unicorn’s voice, which is somewhat thin and a little nasal, but his intonation is good and I don’t have a problem with it. Heavy Jugs to the Moon is a fascinating, unpredictable journey with a trickster tour guide, loads of fun if you don’t take music too seriously, but seriously well made. I should also mention that the CD comes in a lovely mini-gatefold cover with a fold-out poster containing the lyrics and credits along with quirky artwork.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Johnny Unicorn, Bob Drake

More info
http://johnnyunicorn.bandcamp.com/album/heavy-jugs-to-the-moon

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Deluge Grander - August in the Urals – Here’s one that came out of the blue. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, or maybe the action is half a world away from me, but somewhere out there is a prog band called Deluge Grander...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues