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Sensory Underload: Uncertain Trks 1996-2008

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Album Review

Jarid del Deo has been making records under the name Unbunny (as well as Nervous Plants) since 1996, and even though he's cranked out five albums and two EPs between then and 2005, del Deo has left behind enough singles, unreleased tunes, and other stray Unbunny tracks to fill up another long-player. Released in 2008, Sensory Underload features two out of print EPs, Book and Roll and The Typist, along with eight other numbers, and even though this was cobbled together from tapes recorded over a space of 12 years, the songs display an admirable stylistic coherence, with the aggressively personal tone of del Deo's songs tying the whole thing together. Singing with a voice that suggests a nervous and adenoidal Neil Young, del Deo seems as if he's gathering every last scrap of courage to bare his soul to the world, whether he's shouting down Christianity ("The Path"), telling the girl of his dreams about Superchunk ("Mandi"), reeling off a shopping list of his own flaws ("X"), or documenting a brief encounter between two sad, sweet losers ("Dental Hygienist"). A fond adherent of the principles of lo-fi, del Deo's accompaniment is usually minimal and sometimes pretentiously hissy, but he's capable of a rudimentary but powerful power trio stomp on "Ginger Tussle" and "Water and the Spanish Tongue," and the low-key but beautifully executed pop of "X" suggests Unbunny's potential range is broader than one might expect. Those who are uncomfortable hearing someone wear his heart on his sleeve are advised to steer clear of Unbunny, but there's both sincerity and admirable craft in the bits and pieces than comprise Sensory Underload, and the best moments reveal a growing maturity and vision that bodes well for Unbunny's future.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Unbunny began in 1995 with the release of the Analog cassette. The Willis Files cassette followed in 1996. Analog and The Willis Files were re-released in 1997 on CD, on Tray Full of Lab Mice Records and Esque Records, respectively. Guitarist/vocalist Jarid del Dio quickly turned heads with his high-pitched, emotionally raw vocals, while drummer James Ess and guitarist Steve Haruch provided support for the lo-fi indie rock trio. Salt Water Records released the band's five-song vinyl single in 1997,...
Full Bio
Sensory Underload: Uncertain Trks 1996-2008, Unbunny
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