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

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cathedral & Rum - The Moon Is the Lord of Twisted Trees – Cathedral & Rum is essentially LA-based singer/songwriter Chris Hartford plus a host of guest musicians, depending on the album or song. Though make no mistake: Hartford is the creative nexus...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues