Sydney punk powerhouse Totally Unicorn have thrown on their hard pants (let’s face it, any pants at all are a win) and put their best foot forward to announce their third album, High Spirits//Low Life, out February 18 on Farmer & The Owl/BMG. They’ll also be celebrating the album release with a national tour beginning in March.
New track Fri(ends) ft Frenzal Rhomb heart-throb, Jay Whalley can be heard below, it explores the sorrow of not being able to connect with old partners in crime, whether that be down to having kids, going corporate, or making dubious lifestyle changes like getting mortgages.
On the track vocalist, Drew Gardiner says “It’s a simple premise – growing up and losing touch with close friends. People that were once staples in your everyday life, now strangers you pass in the street. It’s something that most people experience in life and it’s even more relatable now, with so many of us relying on screens to stay in touch, which, let’s face it, isn’t enough to sustain some relationships. Thankfully, our friendship with Jason Whalley of Frenzal Rhomb fame has endured, and we were lucky enough to have him feature on this song, keep an eye out for his handsome head in the video.”
Directed by Sean McDermott, TU guitarist, Aaron Streatfeild, says of the video “We had wanted to work with Sean for a while. He has been a part of the crew behind some great music videos for artists like Genesis Owusu, Gordi, and Party Dozen. We were fortunate enough to rope him into working with us. Like ‘Yeah Coach‘, it was filmed in Marrickville but rather than running around the streets like desmonds, we opted for the Sydney Props Warehouse. That place is crammed full of every kind of prop you can think of, so it was lots of fun to walk the warehouse isles and check out all the cool stuff. You might even catch a couple of them in the clip, our favourite being a dreadlocked punk veteran, who after a bit of a spit polish and on-screen magic looked like the real deal.”
A purge is generally followed by a binge. That’s why High Spirits//Low Life, is a gluttonous feast of black humour, animalistic energy and the promise of glitter-bomb bloody good times.
Two years ago, for album #2, Sorry, frontman Drew Gardner had looked inwards, writing radically revealing lyrics and digging nicotine-stained fingers into the hearts of sensitive types and rubberneckers alike. Let’s just say he’s in no rush to open a vein again. “The last album was such an emotional hit for me.”
With High Spirits//Low Life, he’s the bard of the back bar, a suburban stenographer of daily life, from the mundane to the highly fraught – always underscored with that gallows wit.
Produced, mixed and recorded by Lachlan Mitchell (The Hard-Ons, The Jezabels) at Parliament Studios in Leichardt, the album is born into a world diminished by lockdowns and distancing, which makes its relatability all the more vital. At its most poignant it’s a primal scream of frustration. But bring those emotional wounds to the always-celebratory live shows and they’ll be bandaged in tinsel and streamers.
High Spirits//Low Life, is out February 18 on Farmer & The Owl/BMG. Fri(ends) is out today on and is available on all streaming platforms here.