Album Review: Unwed – Raise The Kids

Sure, Hot Water Music’s members have been a part of a ton of other bands. But regardless, when it was announced that Jason Black would be in a band with members of Gay for Johnny Depp and the fantastic Small Brown Bike, who wasn’t the least bit curious? Besides, Hot Water Music, in their own right, is one of the most creative punk rock bands to exist right now. With such prolific minds working on the same project, it was hard to know what to expect.

Unwed’s new album, Raise The Kids, to me at least, sounds like a combination of all of its members’ other bands… But in a really awesome way – it’s as if they took all of the signature musical styles that made those bands who they are and put them together to form something totally different. For instance, the driving rock parts are more reminiscent of Hot Water Music (circa 2002-2004) and the heavy, down-tempo parts are very reminiscent of any of the older Small Brown Bike albums. And the guitars are very reminiscent of Gay For Johnny Depp. However what really sets this band apart is the vocalist Neltie and the way her vocals are mixed on record (they actually sound like Gay For Johnny Depp’s vocals but even creepier…). The record would not carry the overall, darker tone it does if she was not a part of it.

Raise The Kids’ first track, “You’ll Burn”, begins with a few seconds of sounding pretty identical to Hot Water Music. “Okay,” you think to yourself, “I didn’t expect this to just sound like the member’s other projects.” Then, however, it drops a ball on you that makes you feel like you’re in a scary movie… except you’re listening to a punk rock band and not hastily played classical instruments. The title track of Raise The Kids sounds a little bit like Jason Black’s Senses Fail days, but again, in a really good way. Heavier parts in the middle of the song remind me of Small Brown Bike’s Dead Reckoning album. “New Skin” is one of the slower tracks on the album, bringing in some acoustic instruments and odd timing, yet still remaining just as creepy as the rest of the songs. The only song I found hard to get into was “Girl Drink Drunk,” which seemed sort of cheesy and boring in my opinion. Even then it has a unique sound to it, however – imagine if Gwen Stafani wanted to start a band with the guys in AFI pre-Sing The Sorrow.

Unwed has a unique sound that is all at the same time reminiscent of their member’s best projects. It’s not something I would generally listen to, but I think they accomplished exactly what they were trying to sound like and they do it well. Also, they have a song called “PepsiCo,” which rocks in itself.

4.5 / 5 Stars

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