Review of Unun's "Super Shiny Dreams" in CMJ (1996)
Another review online:
When the Sugarcubes decided to call it quits almost three years ago (the band referred to it as an "indefinite hiatus," but we all know what that means), distraught Sugarcubes fans were appeased by the announcement of an upcoming Björk solo album. Surely Björk's stuff would reflect and be influenced by the work she had done with her former bandmates. Or so we all naively assumed.
Then Debut was released, and suddenly we all realized we were going to have to share Björk with every techno-raver alive. Don't get me wrong, the dance-oriented direction of Björk's solo material isn't unbearable. It's just that the void the Sugarcubes left in my life when they broke up hasn't been filled by either of her albums.
Enter Unun, the Icelandic trio that features former Sugarcubes guitarist Thor Eldon. With the release of their debut stateside release, Super Shiny Dreams, my prayers have finally been answered.
Unun's guitar-driven catchiness rivals Tiger Trap and even Heavenly, sometimes surpassing them. Eight musicians play on the record, but the three core members are Eldon, Icelandic noise hero Dr. Gunni on bass and singer Heida.
Super Shiny Dreams is the over-the-top pop record that the Sugarcubes' quirky instincts never allowed them to make. All the stops have been pulled out with Super Shiny - it's pure ear candy from start to finish. You know when you hear a really catchy song, and then realize that if there were really epic keyboards added it would be the best song ever written? Unun uses those keyboards.
Maybe it's just an Icelandic thing, but Miss Heida sounds a lot like Björk on a really happy day after drinking way too much coffee. Unun's music definitely sets the stage for their super-catchiness, but it's Heida's hyper energy that makes this record worth listening to 20 times in a row. Her witty lyrics round out the whole picture, which she uses to discuss falling in love at a first-aid evening class ("First Aid") and falling in love with a TV star ("Kung Fu Blue"), and to compare getting fucked over by a lover to Christ being crucified in "The Good Friday": A very Good Friday/ maybe for Him who's nailed to the cross/ and excellent Friday/ for you who's nailing some uptown slut.
This is great pogo-pop with an excellent sense of humor - which is a major feat, considering that all these songs were originally written in Icelandic.