Pure. Raw. Awesomeness.
Balancing the pop-punk genre is like walking a tightrope. Too far in either direction and you are bound to fall off and take the plunge into a world that you cannot return from. While so many bands try, many do fall and they are left as a footnote with only half of their original credibility in the genre. Luckily for Tunabunny, they not only know how to navigate the wire, but they have dropped and the safety net and running across at full tilt.
With their 3rd release, “Genius Fatigue,” Tunabunny presents an album that is vocally smooth with enough guitar thrashing to make your ears bleed. It’s a recipe for disaster but blends deliciously.
Opening with “Duchess for Nothing,” the band shows plenty of Sleater-Kinney Riot Grrrl tendencies, with the thrashing guitars and live cut sound. There is no pause button on the energy, no hesitation of the shredding, and no way to stop us from turning it up to the max. With this track setting the stage, it’s all hands on deck for one hell of a ride.
While the album mellows out just enough on the follow up tracks “Serpents & Light,” and “You Do What You Want,” the vocals turn more melodic, haunting and infectious. The emotion is meek, soft, and smooth.
“Slackjawed” turns direction again with the most pop influenced cut of the album. The bass is at the helm of this track with the powerful backing vocals that have broken the leash and are running free. It sounds strangely like Warpaint with added testosterone.
On “Airplanes & Echelon,” the listener is blasted with so much noise of absolute destruction that it’s difficult to hear the acoustic melody serving as a beacon of safety in the world of the feedback and distortion overload.
“Wrong Kind of Attention” is the kind of track that sounds it could spin out of control at any moment. It strips down the arrangement as the track moves along. It is at the end that the listener realizes just how in control the band has been all along. It is almost like we have been led through the woods to the daylight through the trees. Suddenly everything is going to be alight.
The next two tracks, “Pachyderm, Fallen” and “Hollywood Unincorporated” push all the instruments to their thrashing peaks. However even with the needle firmly in the red, both songs maintain great control and order, whether it be the guitar driven, heavy vocal effects laden sing along of “Pachyderm, Fallen” or the melodic “Hollywood Unincorporated,” both songs balance control of so many elements and become our favorites of the album.
The final track, “Government of Throats” returns to the single take live sound of the opener. The vocals sound hollow and unfiltered, and lead singers Brigette Herron and Mary Jane Hassell are able to show their true range. The strong and fierce delivery of their vocals is what drives the track and album to a great conclusion.
Tunabunny is hard to classify. From their own website they say “Tunabunny thinks of pop/rock as something that should be destroyed, or at the very least subverted, but would probably be better for everyone involved if it simply ceased to exist.” Perhaps they have said it best. Either way, “Genius Fatigue” is an album that cannot be ignored and is something absolutely original and raw in world where so many artists fall off the high wire and drown in a specific genre. If this is pop/punk, or precursor to its destruction then Tunabunny is setting the rules for its demise. Flip the switch, take off the safety, this is pop/punk at its fucking best.
Released on the amazing Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records, the album is pressed on thick, pink colored vinyl. In addition to the great record, the LP comes with a lyric sheet, full color jacket, and download card. HHBTM records doesn’t mess around when it comes to releasing great records on vinyl, and “Genius Fatigue” is no exception.
You can buy “Genius Fatigue” from your local independent record store or the HHBTM Website.