Six years elapsed between Unbunny's 2004 album Snow Tires and their next full-length effort, Moon Food, but the two records sound as if they could have been recorded a few months apart -- Jarid del Deo, the man behind Unbunny, has a stubbornly consistent creative vision, and his themes of crushing romantic disappointment and the constant struggles of the emotionally awkward haven't changed in any significant way since he first began recording in 1995. That's not to say his music hasn't evolved, though, and Moon Food suggests a cautious move away from the lo-fi sounds of Unbunny's earlier efforts. According to Moon Food's liner notes, del Deo and his collaborators recorded this material at his home studio, but thanks to the advent of affordable digital recording gear, Moon Food sounds spare but polished, as do the arrangements; the musicians don't bring a lot of flash to this music (which wouldn't have suited the songs anyway), but the artful use of dynamics and the commanding interplay between the players give this music a more compelling and forceful resonance than Unbunny has displayed in the past. Admittedly, the changes are subtle, but they are there, while del Deo's songs cover the same territory as he has in the past, and with the same quavering ****** honesty (delivered in a voice that sounds more like Neil Young than anyone short of that guy from America who sang "A Horse with No Name") that will either make you feel empathetic or creeped out, depending on your attitude. And the lines "There's a design flaw in the human heart" and "Young men are easy prey to a girl like her" are in a dead heat for the words on this album that most easily summarize Unbunny's views on the male/female relationship. Unbunny are still saying the same things as usual on Moon Food, but the album's greatest strength is that Jarid del Deo is finding some new ways to say it, and for this artist, that certainly counts as progress. Mark Deming, Rovi
- Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop
- HIDDEN AGENDA
- June 1, 2010
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