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Giant Drag - Hearts & Unicorns

Giant Drag, Hearts & Unicorns

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LOS Angeles combo Giant Drag have drawn favourable comparisons with everyone from My Bloody Valentine and The Pixies to PJ Harvey and Nirvana. Listening to their debut album, Hearts & Unicorns it’s easy to see why.

Guitarist/singer Annie Hardy and drummer Micah Calabrese have delivered a lively, raw and completely infectious long-player that builds on the success of their limited 7” Kevin Is Gay last October (which sold out).

Indeed, it’s that track which kick-starts the album in such compulsive fashion, unfolding in a headspinning whirlwind of fuzzy guitars and nasally vocals. From the moment you hear the track, it ignites a fire within that burns brightly for the duration of the record. It feels fresh, vibrant and exciting from the outset, rather like hearing The Strokes for the first time, or early PJ Harvey.

Second track Cordial Invitation is slightly more subdued but no less compulsive, tip-toeing towards grunge territory, yet equally proving itself capable of delivering some more of those killer riffs. Hardy, again, proves herself to be an engaging presence, vocally.

Forthcoming single This Isn’t It is another barnstormer that’s destined to become an anthem for them. It contains an addictive bassline that propels the track into its ballsy chorus (‘love, love, love, this isn’t it; love, love, love, you wouldn’t know it if it hit you’). Hardy sounds disappointed yet defiant and her confidence is endearing.

Pretty Little Neighbor charts territory that’s similar to Hole and Courtney Love, while Everything Worse ably demonstrates the band’s ability to offset some of their darker, gutsier rockers with some sweet pop tunes. The riffs on this are particularly enjoyable.

Strong, too, is the hard-driving My Dick Sux which is built around another adrenaline-rush of a hook. It really doesn’t mess around and is another of many highlights that showcases the album’s mischevious charm.

The album ends with the band’s ‘cover’ version of Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game which Annie claims she wrote, and that Chris stole after their teenage love affair hit the rocks. It’s a bewitching version, built around some of the grittiest guitar hooks you’re likely to hear that lend it a grainy, heart-shot effect. If anything, it’s slightly better than Isaac’s version thanks to its gutsy style and Hardy’s equally distinct vocals (that are poles apart from her male counterpart). And as a way of closing out the album, it ensures it finishes it on an absolute high.

It only makes Hearts and Unicorns more compulsive and an extremely worthwhile addition to anyone’s record collection.

Who are Giant Drag?

Track listing:

  1. Kevin Is Gay
  2. Cordial Invitation
  3. This Isn’t It
  4. Yflmd
  5. Pretty Little Neighbor
  6. Blunt Picket Fence
  7. High Friends In Places
  8. You’re Full Of Shit (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)
  9. Everythings Worse
  10. My Dick Sux
  11. Smashing
  12. Slayer
  13. Wicked Game