Snow Tires – Unbunny

Snow Tires - Unbunny Artist: Unbunny
Album: Snow Tires
Release Date: August 10, 2004
Duration: 27:43
Genre: Pop/Rock
Styles: Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Recording Location: Am As One; The Electric Cave, Portsmouth, NH

Indie pop survivor Jarid del Dio finally secures solid label representation with Parasol’s release of Snow Tires, his fifth album under various monikers and incarnations. Neutral Milk Hotel is still a big influence here, as del Dio’s songs dawdle and coalesce with a similar disregard for structure, but with an uncanny knack for plaintive melodies and weirdly insightful turns of phrase. “All over town,” he begins on “Casserole,” “The flat-chested trailer brides/Their braces and bottle caps jangle like tambourines.” And we can see del Dio wandering through the connecting yards and hanging laundry, dragging his white elephant of a failed relationship on a long fraying leash. “I Leave Stones Unturned” is a sparkly, bittersweet pop song driven by scratchy electric guitar, warm electric piano, and Roy Ewing’s punchy drums. Its chorus is reprised offhandedly at the start of “I Knock Things I Haven’t Tried,” a quieter number guided by acoustic guitar, subtle synths, and what sounds like a sample of air brakes on a city bus. It’s another side to the same argument, like the whispers after the screams. Maybe its del Dio’s warbly, Neil Young-as-whiny-barista vocal, but Unbunny can at times suggest a sparer version of Mercury Rev, or even Modest Mouse. There’s a similar sense of a psychological struggle twisting behind the tossed-off phrases and pop culture pipe bombs; the music is quieter, but informed with those same qualities of squinty indie pop. The gentle “FM” is a big, big standout, beginning with a kid’s chorus harmonizing like a Lilliputian version of the Polyphonic Spree, and “Pink Lemonade” really plays up that Neil Young-ness, offering dusty acoustic strums and shuffling drums tickled by twangy guitar fuzz. Fans of smart stuff like Elf Power and Clem Snide, take note.

Title/Composer Performer Time
Casserole Unbunny 3:12
Nightwalking Unbunny 2:40
I Leave Stones Unturned Unbunny 2:21
Nothing Comes to Rest Unbunny 3:01
I Knock Things I Haven’t Tried Unbunny 3:04
FM Unbunny 3:09
Certain Lights Unbunny 3:11
Pink Lemonade Unbunny 4:24
Snow Tires Unbunny 2:41

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