Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Microbunny's wintry ambient tunes deserve praise

April 23, 2010

Microbunny’s 49 Swans came out in the wrong season, and the members of Microbunny know it. Why else would they put a picture of a totally frozen-over window as the cover art to this fine album? They know that their chilling, ambient, occasionally trip-hop tunes are best heard in winter’s icy grip. Even listening to this on a rainy day doesn’t really work; the album features the harsh feel of desolation, not the dreary doldrums of a rainy day.

This album is a fully-realized one; the fourteen songs work together perfectly. The whole thing flows as one long song; even the occasional break in mood is welcomed instead of belittled, because Microbunny is just too good at writing the sound of desolation. From synths to drums to guitars to bass, everything works together as one big instrument to convey what Microbunny wanted to say. And it says it perfectly.

From the jarring drumming of “Electrical Fire Incident” to the shapeshifting synths in “Spring Ice Remnant Death Knell” to the gorgeous and emotionally jarring piano on “Outer Sad/Inner Happy,” there’s variation and yet no variation at all. It all says the same thing in different ways. It’s pretty, it’s sad, it’s the soundtrack to a literal or emotional winter.

If you’re in the mood for downers but you don’t have any around, Microbunny’s 49 Swans will do the trick. I don’t mean that in a bad way; that’s what they intended it to be. It’s perfectly suited to what it wants to be. And that means it’s a great album.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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