Gunship - Unicorn
You know how I know an album is special? It’s the very moment I choose to buy that album in multiple formats, as is the case with Gunship’s brand-new album “Unicorn”. Most albums I’m fine with grabbing the vinyl, cassette, or CD by itself. But with “Unicorn”, I dove right into the triple vinyl, double-cassette, and CD bundle. While it was so, so easy to describe Gunship as an up and coming synthwave band just a few years back, their style and production value has risen higher than any of us probably could imagine. New heights have been achieved, phenomenal collaborations are abound, and Gunship has never sounded like they’ve been having more fun in their career than now.
The first track on the album is an eargasm of a theme song featuring a host of artists including Milkie Way, Dave Lombardo, Tyler Bates, and everyone’s favorite saxophone beast Tim Cappello. This synthpop track is one filled with hope and aspirations, phenomenal percussion, and some of the finest sax riffs I’ve heard in my life. The vocals are clean, the duets solid, and the synths near perfect. It’s no wonder Gunship chose to use this song as their premiere track; it’s practically their new anthem.
‘Taste Like Venom’ is the car thriller track that we all know and love; the track starts off with someone entering a car, turning onto the engine, and from then on it’s a white-knuckle fueled drive through love. That love being attached to a femme fatale that’s dangerous; an attraction like none other; a fatuation and a hypnotizing state. A bright eighties synth ballad that stands tall.
Gunship pairs with Lights on ‘Empress of the Damned’ and turns out a fine synthpop single. Darksynth beats meets Lights’ phenomenal vocals. It’s a two-sided song; darkened beats during the verse but a danceable, smooth section during the chorus. Light and dark combined.
A sequel to arguably Gunship’s most popular song, ‘Tech Noir’, makes a return once again featuring John Carpenter. I will say that I wasn’t as impressed with the intro monologue from Carpenter through no fault of his own; I just feel as if his voice needed to be more up front and center as it’s a bit buried in the mix. However, the monologue is delivered nicely. The track obviously takes influence from the original, with higher pitched synths taking center stage for a moment. I am much more impressed with the vocal delivery on this track over the original; much more pronounced, much more confident. Proof of Gunship’s evolution as musicians.
“Hey kid, what’s the matter? You wanna live forever?” is a quote read in the intro to ‘DooM Dance’ before the hard-hitting dark synth beat comes in. And it’s no wonder this is one of the dirtiest tracks on the album; Carpenter Brut is involved, and we all know that he means BASS. That signature dark styling from the artist mixes alongside Gavin Rossdale as another guest artist joins the roster on “Unicorn”.
I can only assume that ‘Blood for the Blood God’ was written for all the Warhammer nerds on the planet; but that’s quite alright for me. Taking some notes from techno with quirky electro basslines, Gunship partners with the soothing and ethereal vocals of HEALTH which contrast the single. I especially enjoy the moment around the three-minute fifteen-second mark when they shout out ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD’ and then a breakdown occurs. Quite spiffy.
‘Weaponised Love’ isn’t quite the catchiest song on the album; definitely above par and above the standard. But in comparison to the rest of the album, it’s lacking something extra special that’s to die for. I felt much the same for
Power Glove joins the fray on ‘Ghost’ for tremendously cinematic track that would fit right in the ranks of a neon-lit cyberpunk city. It’s one of the slower songs on the album that plays with synth pitches in grand fashion, letting each note sink into your veins before moving onto the next. While not as cinematic, ‘Darkness for Dreams’ featuring Stella La Page shares a similar slower pace. Not exactly cinematic, but clinging to the idea of the title track; a dreamy synth ballad waiting to be waded through.
‘Holographic Heart’ features a wonderful collaboration with Britta Phillips that contains everything you need for a bit of a love song; sweet and serene vocals, a somewhat sultry beat, and a wanting and desire for one another. ‘Nuclear Date Night’ brings some much needed funk to the album that wasn’t seen prior but it a phenomenal addition nonetheless.
For those who wanted to hear pure Gunship without many collaborations, you’ll be pleased to know that the final three songs on the album are solo tracks. This section begins with the guitar riff riddled ‘Run like Hell’ which might serve well for those looking to get some added heat to their next cardio session, moves onto ‘Lost Shadow’ which sounds like a missing piece to a long lost sci-fi soundtrack, and finished off with ‘Postcard from the American Dream’, which is a slow piece filled out with gorgeous vocals, ambient air, and some lovely piano work.
Gunship put a whole lot of time and effort into “Unicorn” and it has paid off greatly. Perhaps the best album in their career, almost certainly one of the best albums of the year. Simply put: not listening to this is a disservice to yourself.Oct 07 2023
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
Share this review