The Unravelling – Everything is Normal – Review
This review of the release from The Unravelling, Everything is Normal was written JD Stefan for Rock n Roll View.
The Unravelling - Everything is Normal
Everything is Normal is the first (as far as I can tell) release from the quirky pop/techno-ish trio The Unravelling. The band is comprised of Ciara (vocals), Dr. Pete (guitars) and Jono (keyboards). Krucial makes an appearance here and there on tablas and flute. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of information about the band. Their MySpace page doesn’t provide much depth on the members or their take on the music they create. Likewise for the Setting Sun Records website – just not much out there. The band shares their name with a Canadian-based progressive metal duo as well and that further clouds the information available to potential fans.
Everything is Normal opens up with a poppy synth-laden track called Come Undone. The instrumentation and dry, upfront vocals set the stage for some nice interplay between a decent drum groove, interesting guitar textures and very analog synth tones. Jono and Dr. Pete have some great production chops and they don’t hesitate to showcase them by making use of clever vocal effects and lots of layering and texture. The trend continues through some solid songs in the title track, Doctor and Better. The tracks are solid productions, benefit from interesting arrangements and Ciara’s vocals fit into a nice pocket within. Just at the point where the tones and synth sounds were beginning to wear a bit thin the trio introduces a nice change- up with the song Growing Pains. This track features great rhythmic harmony vocals and benefits from an arrangement that’s more sparse and open while still retaining the tones that give The Unravelling their sound. Another standout track for me is the song Essential. It begins with piano, guitar and some subtle flute and creates a cool vibe and atmosphere over a simple groove. Ciara’s vocals float in this song without the effects being overdone. Chunky Moves takes on a slightly different direction as the synths really take over while still leaving room for Ciara’s vocals.
The Unravelling have a solid effort here on Everything is Normal. For fans of the genre these are some good tracks although they won’t exactly pound out the dance floor. The production overall is really good and it’s nice to see tracks like this done without a total overuse of effects and gimmicks. There’s just enough there to make things interesting while staying fairly subtle. The synths and guitars work well together to provide the backdrop for Ciara’s vocals. The grooves are pretty good too though I favored the slower beats more. The more uptempo tracks didn’t seem to have quite the punch in the grooves that I would have liked. If there’s anything that Everything is Normal suffers from it’s lack of dynamic depth. The songs are varied enough but everything stays on a very even keel – perhaps more atmospheric breaks interspersed with more intense drum grooves could spice things up some. Still, I found this CD to be enjoyable and it would totally work in rotation with lots of other groove-based pop material in an iTunes playlist. The biggest drawback for the band is sharing their name with the Canadian duo. Web searches pull up more about the other Unravelling than this trio and that’s unfortunate.
This CD should find fans if the fans can find it. I would encourage The Unravelling to make more of a presence on the web and provide more insight into the trio beyond the scarce information currently available. Listen to the music over at myspace (www.myspace.com/theunravellingsound).