Bunny & the Invalid Singers – Flight of the Certainty Kids

Posted: 4 October 2021 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bearsuit Records – 15th Octoberr 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

I strongly believe that the most potent writing encapsulates the foibles and unpredictable nature of life itself, be it ‘credible’ dialogue that makes no sense, or seemingly inexplicable sub-plots and character deviances that seem incongruous. For all their irrationality and incongruity, these things seem more relatable, more real, than the artifice of linearity. Because life isn’t linear. Life is unpredictable. Life makes no sense. And life isn’t only what happens while you’re making other plans, but life exists in the detours and dead-ends, in the swerves off-piste and the unexpected diversions.

So, to begin with a detour, it seems like a reasonable place to begin by confessing that ‘invalid’ is a word I struggle with. It seems somehow wrong that ‘invalid’ as in one who is incapacitated by illness, injury, or disability, is a homograph of ‘invalid’ as in ‘not valid’, faulty, expired, of no worth. If coincidental, it feels like a particularly cruel linguistic twist. If not coincidental, if feels all the crueller.

This is relevant, because with next to no biographical information available, I find myself trying to picture Bunny & the Invalid Singers while listening to their latest offering, the idiosyncratic Flight of the Certainty Kids. It’s been a full sixteen years now since I first encountered the quirky Edinburgh act – ensemble? Collaborative project? – reviewing second album The Invalid Singers back in the summer of 2015. A lot has changes since then, but Bearsuit Records pursuit of oddness has remained undiminished, and so has Bunny’s.

Prefaced by the single release of ‘The Certainty Kids’ b/w ‘None of This Happened’, Flight of the Certainty Kids delivers on the promise of something that’s a bit retro, a bit kitsch, a bit Stereolab. It’s a bit everything, to be fair: a bit lounge, a bit calypso, a bit whimsical, a bit glitchcore bit microtonal, a bit of fun – and totally unpredictable, an eye-popping swirl of hybridity.

There’s nothing noisy or harsh about this, there’s nothing difficult about the sounds or the structures, and Flight of the Certainty Kids is very kind to the ears. And yet it’s this proximity to something accessible that renders the album all the more uncomfortable. I suppose you may call it uncanny or unheimlich.

Just as things are settling into a mellow drift on the first track, ‘A Sniper’s Heart’, a deep bass throb and thumping beat crash in and take things down a completely different, and altogether darker, alley. There’s a dash of East Asian influence on the aforementioned ‘None of This Happened’, while ‘Buckled & Bleeding’ melts ambience and prog into some kind of dystopian elevator music. Shuddering beats stutter and tremor like palpitations on ‘The Certainty Kids’, rupturing the surface of summery synths and in turn setting an uneven surface for the soft acoustic guitar that subsequently emerges.

For every element of ease, of tranquillity, there is one of jarring otherness, from the stealthy orchestral strikes of ‘There’s More Conjuring to be Done’ – which suddenly yield, albeit briefly, to some monumental riffing, before spiralling into some ultra-noodly synths, and then again transition into some delicate pastoral folk. How do you reconcile these elements?

It certainly shouldn’t work, and I’m scratching my head as to why it does while the trilling woodwind of ‘This is Happening’ drifts over me, then suddenly slaps me to alertness as it switches to an indie disco stomper. And here we are: this is an album that doesn’t even agree with itself? How are we supposed to know what’s happening, if it is or isn’t? Maybe we’re not supposed to, or otherwise it’s best if we don’t.

In a mad, mad world, the crazy world of Bunny & the Invalid actually seems pretty rational – lose yourself in the mania, and things seem a whole lot better. Don’t question it, don’t overthink it, just delve in.

AA

a2715082297_10

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s