Exposé Online banner

Johnny Unicorn — Sweet Edith Manton
((Not on label) UAS-37002, 2010, CD)

Johnny Unicorn — Thinking Hard to Overcome Nervousness
((Not on label) UAS-37003, 2011, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-04-01

Sweet Edith Manton Cover artThinking Hard to Overcome Nervousness Cover artCurrently based in Seattle, by way of SoCal, Johnny Unicorn produces a twisted and offbeat take on progressive art-pop, which is at once intelligent and ambitious, full of brilliant writing, arranging and musicianship, quirky humor and absurdity, all juxtaposed into what should be an incongruent whole that ultimately works surprisingly well. These are his two most recent of five releases (where have I been? ), both challenging and eccentric throughout. On the earlier disc Sweet Edith Manton, Unicorn plays all the instruments (guitars, bass, all keyboards – including Mellotron – and vocals) save drums, while the newest Thinking Hard... features a large cast of guest musicians, including Phideaux Xavier and Brian Woodbury, both of whom should be somewhat familiar to Exposé readers. Sweet Edith contains an album side's worth of shorter cuts in the two-to-four minute range, followed by the side-long five-part title suite. Thinking Hard is a double length album, a dozen songs divided into four 'sides,' which get more interesting as the disc progresses, culminating with the seventeen minute closer "Don’t Wait," a cornucopia of bizarre contrasts and vivid execution. There's plenty of great music here that deserves attention, recommended for those who enjoyed early 10cc, Godley & Creme, Gentle Giant, Zappa, and more contemporary bands like They Might Be Giants or Modest Midget. He currently performs live with the trio Plack, Smith and Unicorn. Both discs highly recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 40, 2010 releases, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Phideaux, Johnny Unicorn

More info
http://www.johnnyunicorn.com

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gift - Awake and Dreaming – The Gift are a fairly new British group targeting the more accessible side of the progressive spectrum. They have lots of analog keys and such, although many songs are just a singer and an acoustic...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues