March 11, 2014

Tunabunny: Kingdom Technology



Tunabunny's 2010 debut was a thrilling, energetic mess. Four years and three albums later, the energy is still there on Kingdom Technology. But this time around, it's more focused, more assured. The shouted unison vocals have given way to more careful harmonies; the looping bass lines and steady drums have been tightened up and locked in. The band has married its substantial charisma to substantive pop songcraft. 

An off-kilter bass line forms the cracked foundation of “Chalked Up,” with a single, sharp guitar cutting through like a dental drill, almost as biting as the vocal. Pylon, another band that builds force through insistent repetition, is a reference here. Tunabunny isn't afraid to let a single idea develop over six minutes, but the band is equally compelling on a number of one-minute tracks. “Good God Awful” and “Canaries in Mineshafts” are prime examples of this potent distillation.

Some of the record's best moments find the band exploring new sounds. “Coming for You” would fit comfortably on a mid-'90s college radio playlist, with shimmering open chords and affecting harmonies in the chorus. The twisted Kate Bush pop of “Save it Up” is an argument for Tunabunny making more use of electronics. “I use my anger in a positive way,” goes one lyric—one of many positives here. 4 out of 5.