Unbunny – Snow Tires

Snow Tires

I’m undeniably behind on writing this review. We’ve had the album for probably a few months now, but for the life of me I can think of nothing to say about Unbunny. Perhaps that makes this, appropriately, an unreview. But the album is on the almost always reliable Parasol Records, and it’s garnered significant hype and orgasmic reviews. And frankly, I just don’t get it.

That’s not to say that Snow Tires is in any way a bad album. It’s just…music. I’m reminded instantly of Pedro the Lion, a band essentially the work of one man, whose music never moved me in any manner at all. Like Unbunny, the work of Jarid del Deo, the music becomes background, something pleasant enough at the time but forgettable.

Those who like Pedro the Lion for its lyrics will at least find something to appreciate here… del Deo has a knack for decent lyrics around relationships and such. But the brand of singer/songwriter acoustic guitar and soft vocals don’t stick with me for a second. And, in fact, by the album’s end, I’ve already forgotten I’ve listened to it at all, and sometimes I’m listening to silence for several minutes before noticing.

There’s some pleasant moments here, as mentioned. The very soft synth backing and vocal layering on “Nightwalking” give it a warm, enveloping feeling. “I Leave Stones Unturned” has the feel of AM radio pop, warm and a bit more upbeat, with del Deo’s vocals taking an Elephant 6-esque turn, and there’s a similar off-beat catchiness to “Certain Lights” that surprises me when it comes up. The best song is “Nothing Comes to Rest,” with uses piano to liven things up. But the repetitive strumming of “I Knock Things I Haven’t Tried” is hypnotizing, and not in a good way, and FM sounds like it’s artificially slow…am I playing this on the wrong speed? The apparently requisite nod to folk (he does play acoustic guitar, after all) comes across on the far-too-quiet title track at the end of the album. Who said you have to leave on a strong note?

It’s not that Snow Tires is too quiet, or too mellow, because I like quiet and mellow, and I know that such albums are meant to be enjoyed in appropriate moments. Maybe it’s del Dio’s vocals that don’t sit with me: they’re very quiet, just a tad whiny. Maybe it’s the familiar acoustic strumming and personal lyrics that bring to mind Dashboard Confessional only without the sing-along choruses. In the end, though, Unbunny feels a little bit like unmusic: not bad, not good, just there.