Tunabunny – Minima Moralia (HHBTM)

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Tunabunny - Minima Moralia

By Lucy Cage

“Sometimes the wrong time is the perfect time… “

Wrongness is an underrated virtue. Tunabunny revel in wrongness with all the grubby enthusiasm of a puppy rolling in mud and, puppylike, they come up bouncing. Two girls, two boys from Athens, Georgia, they have punk-pop history at their fingertips and noise in their hearts and like all the most creative people ever they’re unafraid to fuck right up. They do that wrong thing right.

They have also written one of the finest singles of the year in ‘(Song For My) Solar Sister’: it’s gigantic. Huggable. It moans and skips and sighs, a glorious fuzzy riff all breathless and stumbling like your best friend drunk at the end of the summer. And quite perversely references both The Stone Roses and The Posies, which only adds to the persistent and disconcerting conviction I’ve had since I first heard it that I already knew it, that it was already a song out there in the world, a canonised, lauded, Great Song which had somehow slipped between the cracks of history. I’ve woken up with it stuck fast in my head every day for a week and it always makes me smile.

So much for reality. The whole album plays with slippages in pitch and time, foregrounds the abrasiveness of the non-perfect, is expertly, mischievously, inept. The scrappy motorik of ‘Perfect Time, Every Time’ wails and waves with the grace of a skateboarder careering down urban slopes, scritchy violin quavering in its wake like a lost cat. There’s desperation shuddering in every slipped semitone and flattened melody; anyone who loves Mary Margeret O’Hara’s frantic utterances on Miss America will appreciate the way the vocals scramble over themselves in ecstasy, confusion, excitement, until the song finally spins out of control into massed, orgiastic “aaahh!”s, abandoning any attempt to hold together its various parts.

‘Only At Night’ has truculent lead guitar playing hopscotch over its fuzzed-out brethren and a whole gang of snarls and yelps and slurred syllables. ‘The Natural World’ jumps and jags about the place, fantastically imprecise, errant, irresponsible. Even the boundaries between man and beast are blurred here.

‘Cross Wire Technique’ is a grit and ice affair, with syllables skidding all over the road and guitars that rumble below the surface. What it reminds me of more than anything else are the soft animal growls of Tanya Donelly, very specifically the way her slippy vocals elide with the reedy guitar lines on Throwing Muses’ ‘Not Too Soon’.  Of course, Donelly and Hersh would be ‘Bunny muses, along with all the other best non-boy sprawling clatterers of the past few decades, the victors in Tunabunny’s alternoverse, the ones who wrote the histories, the herstories: Sonic Youth, Breeders, Huggy Bear, Bikini Kill, Swell Maps, you know the culprits, the ones who bundled feedback up into a ball and threw it back full-pelt at pop.

(continues overleaf)

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