[sic] Magazine

Chew Lips – Unicorn

Where it comes to indulgence a lot of bands fall down. Many are guilty of finishing with a sprawling epic, padding out a midsection with skits or drawing out tracks with aimless strumming. Unicorn however barely lasts 30 minutes and by excluding the two 12”s that led up to the album release it immediately seems underweight rather over.

Whilst its restrained, electro-indie atmospherics don’t have the same chill as The xx , and their most memorable hooks have met with the chop, Unicorn nevertheless has something to say. Its barely-there acoustics often meet with echoing pulses and sparse percussion. Ambient, babbling beats frequently meet more upbeat channels of poppish electro. And in frontwoman Tigs , there are strong vocals to support. Much has been made of her similarity to Karen O , but really, outside of some guest work for The Brute Chorus , this seems largely unfounded. All the same, she coos along with enviable, you-needn’t-apply nonchalance and disinterest throughout.

“Slick” is the only real contender when it comes to the sultry levels of relaxed electro-pop that the here-absent “Solo” and “Salt Air” achieved. It tempts and teases just as The Golden Filter have been doing lately, layering skittish synth patterns onto other rising columns of scales and in doing so hints at Sound Of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem . “Karen” later coasts along in new-wave waters. Driven along by sporadic guitarwork it flirts pleasingly with Blondie -levels of glamour.

Though seemingly incomplete, Unicorn is that rarest of beasts, sufficiently revealing yet frustratingly distant. Its heart may have been removed, yet it still succeeds. Chew Lips were bold to leave out “Solo” and “Salt Air” but it’s a decision for which, along with the album, they deserve credit.