The Upshot: At 28 songs, the potential for veering off the rails here is profound, yet the Athens band keeps its conceptual eye on the prize and arrives at the best set of tunes the Flying Nun label never released. Below, watch some of the group’s delightful videos.
BY FRED MILLS
Intrigued by the name? Ignore that first search hit you get for “tunabunny”—it’s a red herring. (Or, more likely, a detour to some gamers’ hack for the Clash of Kings MMMO.) Try, instead, this ridiculously talented and prodigious Athens band’s Bandcamp or Facebook page… I’ll give you some time here… okay, logged on? Found some audio and/or video? Not yet? Good. See below.
Wildly prolific, yet so cheekily oblivious to general matters of commerce and market exploitation—this is an outfit that still lists its MySpace page among its contact links (hint: try it anyway)—Tunabunny is part of a long line of Athens art-rockers ‘n’ upstarts stretching back to B-52s days and beyond; one could even argue that the group’s eye for mischief and ear for chaos is at least somewhat influenced by nearby Atlanta’s late great Hampton Grease Band, whose classic 1971 classic Music to Eat, was, like PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr., a sprawling double-LP rife with conceptual lunacy and sonic serendipity (not to mention a collagist’s dream of sleeve art—the front cover above is ½ of one gem of a colorful and textural riot).
Mere words don’t do justice to either the album title or its contents, so let’s break for a moment:
Whew. At 28 songs, the potential for veering off the rails here is profound, yet Tunabunny keeps things lively and varied (pardon the staid description), not to mention psychedelic as hell and punk as fuck (pardon the old-school ‘ziners description). Riotous indie rock by any other name, it boasts sweetly arcing distaff vox, fuzzed-out guitars leavened by kosmiche drones and tones, and propulsive rhythms with backbeats ya can’t lose. (Flying Nun worship, anyone?)
Rumor has it that this is an answer record to the Beatles’ White Album, and with a few songtitles like “Julia” and “Revolution None,” one might be tempted to accept that at face value. Me, I never bought the Liz Phair myth about Exile in Guyville being an answer to Exile on Main Street, so it’s your call; personally, I’m sticking with the aforementioned Music to Eat nod, or perhaps even Trout Mask Replica. Either way (or not), this is some of the most fun stretched across four sides of beautiful heavyweight wax you’ll have in the gradually-declining summer of ’17. Anyone up for skinny-dipping in a rural Georgia pond?
DOWNLOAD: “I Thought I Caught It (With You),” “Blackwater Homes,” “Nevermind the Cobblestones,” “Incinerate,” “Pitocin Enduction Hour”