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VULGAR UNICORN

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Vulgar Unicorn biography
The British trio used the help from trumpet, saxophone and violin in some ambitious instrumental developments. VULGAR UNICORN is song oriented melodic prog. The compositions move in and of these influences creating variety and interest but not any wasted time. Also included in their sound is some space prog influences. This combination creates interesting changes in texture and mood. The melodious and refined themes, the sound effects, the simplicity of the moods evoke PINK FLOYD, CAMEL or CODA. VULGAR UNICORN has their own niche, which is very easy to listen to.

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Buy VULGAR UNICORN Music


Under The UmbrellaUnder The Umbrella
Audio CD$338.84
$14.17 (used)
Jet Set RadioJet Set Radio
Import
Cyclops Records 2000
Audio CD$89.99 (used)
Sleep With FishesSleep With Fishes
Import
Cyclops Records 1996
Audio CD$119.95
$119.94 (used)
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VULGAR UNICORN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

VULGAR UNICORN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 21 ratings
Under The Umbrella
1995
3.08 | 20 ratings
Sleep With The Fishes
1996
3.45 | 18 ratings
Jet Set Radio
2000
3.50 | 8 ratings
Divadroid International
2000
3.88 | 11 ratings
The Fine Art Of Living
2004

VULGAR UNICORN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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VULGAR UNICORN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Under The Umbrella  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.19 | 21 ratings

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Under The Umbrella
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars British Prog/Psych/Art Rock band, formed in mid-90's by two close high-school friends and multi-instrumentalists, Neil Randall and future The Pineapple Thief leader Bruce Soord.With the addition of drummer David Hutchfield, singer Tony Busby and a few guest musicians on saxes/violins/trumpets, Vulgar Unicorn recorded their debut ''Under the Umbrella'' between September and October 1994 at Smallworld Studios.The band had already signed a contract with Cyclops and the album was released in April 1995.

''Under the umbrella'' was an attempt by Vulgar Unicorn to throw some fresh and modern Progressive Rock in the market and is highlighted by the 45-min. eponymous track, split in three long pieces, each clocking at over12 minutes.The style of the band is not always conveincing but it is definitely quite different compared to bands trying to immitate the Classic Prog legends.It is a mix of the growing Post Rock movement with Neo Prog, Classic Prog, Psychedelic Rock and Jazz and, as already said, this works fine for the most of the album's length.The guitar work of Soord seems to be the most demanding music section in the album, offering good jamming parts, adventurous riffing and nice solos throughout.The arrangements are tight with an alternation between different themes and go from OZRIC TENTACLES-like electric passages to spacey jazzy themes with a Post-Rock attitude, not unlike JAGA JAZZIST, with decent sax and trumpet solos to elegant grooves in the Neo Prog matrix of 90's MARILLION.Mix also some parts with fiery guitar workouts and some synth-based atmospheres to get the full picture, which is really unique but always nice to listen to.The vocals are clear and decent, though they do not always walk equal to the music.A fourth epic 10-min. track entitled ''Thief of Clubs'' closes the album, offering Vulgar Unicorn's most powerful ideas with incredible and crystalline guitar work by Soord and a great rhythm section supporting, close to the style of PORCUPINE TREE.

Good debut by this duo of talented British musicians, which seem to walk right on the path of blending new and old prog stylings.Worth investigating, as after so many years since it was released ''Under the Umbrella'' sounds quite fresh.Recommended.

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 Jet Set Radio  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.45 | 18 ratings

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Jet Set Radio
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by progadicto

3 stars By far, the best Vulgar Unicorn album till today. Nice floating melodies, interesting and attractive symph prog sections and attractive mixtures of several prog genres made this album a piece worth to listen and enjoy.

There are some sections a little bored and too long but besides this personal opinion, teh album slides into many rhythmical and catchy melodic sections that seduces the listener with some reminiscenses of the late 70's prog but with 2000 textures (specially electronic twisted loops and samples) which made this album very refreshing and enjoyable.

Not for all prog tastes but it deserves a place into every music lover discography. In fact there are three of four song at least that deserves special attention because their complexity, beautiness and symphonic sections... 3*+.

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 Jet Set Radio  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.45 | 18 ratings

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Jet Set Radio
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Third release named Jet set radio from 2000 and maybe their best so far, keeps the same atmosphere, almost the moods and texture are in same level with the predecesor but in places is a little more solid and tight. I like a lot to this band how easy they can go from an prog piece with complex enough arrangements to jazz and fynky moments on another tune. The prog moments are well melted in this context with great and inventive textures from diffrent musical soundscapes, funky, space, jazz moments and gives in the end an entertaining album, even again to diverse in sounds for just one album. Another 3 star album for me, this Jet set readio can be intristing enough for prog listners, the musicianship is great, intristing ideas and I must tell this band is something else in prog field, in a good way in the jungle of bands that emerged in the '90's. They bring a fresh air in the prog world with most unusual arrangements but in same time very original in places. Good album with some excellent tunes like, I Saw The Messenger Of The New God There and Scherzo In C Minor .

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 Sleep With The Fishes  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.08 | 20 ratings

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Sleep With The Fishes
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Vulgar Unicorn is one of the most intristing bands I've heared lately. They coming from UK and release so far 5 albums, this one the second named Sleep with the fishes from 1996 is among their most acompliced releases, even is very low rated here. Their music is very strange but in same time very intristing, crossing from prog (most from neo zone) to funky beats , jazz moments, piano segments and above all sometimes I have the feeling I'm listening to some club band, but they melted so fine these influences that in the end sound pretty choerent release. The musicians know to handle the instruments, but as other reviewer said earlier their music is aimless, to to much variety in the arrangements. The pieces are long with lots of tempo changes, mood of all kinds interluded with good vocal parts, all instruments did a good job here so I will give 3 stars for this one. Nothing really great or excellent even some moments are truly great. Food For Thought is the best they offer here, at least for me.

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 The Fine Art Of Living by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 11 ratings

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The Fine Art Of Living
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by dmwilkie

4 stars I think this is the best of the offerings from Messrs. Soord and Randall. There are catchy up-tempo tracks with great changes of pace, and fine writing for keyboards and guitar. Even the shortest track is worth noting, a beautiful,gentle piano piece that Enaudi could be proud of! There are even, for once, some quite interesting lyrics. Great stuff. I hope it's not the last we hear from them.

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 Sleep With The Fishes  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.08 | 20 ratings

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Sleep With The Fishes
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by dmwilkie

4 stars Don't be fooled by the timings on this cd. Each 'epic' is actually made up of four shorter tracks, which have practically no musical connection to each other. Also, there is a most annoying habit of including many snippets of dialogue, which detracts from the music, (although Star Trek fans may find some amusement trying to work out where some of the dialogue comes from!).

That said, the music has a freshness and vitality that is often missing in prog. There is some great guitar work in a variety of styles and the keyboard sounds are lush and creative. Lots of other instruments make guest appearances, and add to the variety. You never know what will happen next! An immensely enjoyable prog album.

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 Jet Set Radio  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.45 | 18 ratings

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Jet Set Radio
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars The two guys from Yeovil have finally returned with their third album, which seems to have been 'nearly ready' for ages. They have utilised some guest musicians and vocalists (if you can honestly believe all of the credits on the insert), but for the most part, it is just Neil Randall and Bruce Soord in the studio. They boast of being one of the few truly progressive bands left in the UK, and they certainly sound very different to the norm. Very keyboard based, although not New Age, it is an album that takes a lot of listening to. It is not New Age, but at times, there is the danger that they could disappear in a puff of complexity.

Being progressive for it's own sake is not an end to itself, although these guys obviously do not feel that this is the case. Very interesting, but sometimes too damn clever for its' own good. Treat with care.

Feedback #59, July 2000

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 Under The Umbrella  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.19 | 21 ratings

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Under The Umbrella
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars "Woof! What d'ya say? I said Woof! D'ya know anymore? WOOOOOOF!" Beatles-Hey Bulldog! In continuing my scribed reverence for this Vulgarprog beast, I will lay some light on this fine disc , thus completing the first trio of their discography. I purchased this back in 1995 and have adored it unrelentingly ever since. "Under the Umbrella" is VU's debut offering and what a hidden gem this is, a playful, whimsically very british whimsical spy story, illuminated by some fabulous melodies and great solos. Being from Albion, the vocals, courtesy of Tony Busby are above average, unpretentious in a Ray Davies meets Richard Sinclair style, sweetly sung but loaded with that typical island aloofness (a bit snotty at times!). This is really just one long suite, separated into 4 movements that bleeds into the next , flowing nicely along. What makes it so laudable, is the intrepid use of trumpet that will even duel with the saxophone (when do you see that in supposed Neo-Prog, huh?), a violin streak swooshes through, unexpected. Acoustic guitars court a cello lament with intense grace. All this adding to the general aural bliss under the umbrella, vodka martini shaken not stirred. Guitarist Bruce Soord (of future Pineapple Thief fame) liberally splashes some interesting rythmic webs , punctuated with some devastatingly alluring "The Edge" like solos. The strangeness and charm of the arrangements rely on some original changes of pace, from groovy a la Ozrics to frenetic , like a sonic roller coaster.Yes , it wanders, thankfully. When you least expect it, the journey turns on a dime , an urgent sax solo out of the blue, urging one to smile. Keyboardist Neil Randall tosses everything into the cauldron: electronic bleeps, synth sweeps, great bopping bass heaps, rushing organ weeps and refined piano leaps. Whether you like this or not (you shouldn't judge prog harshly anyway: its all good), the bottom line is that this isn't boring, shallow. Please remember that CAT FOOD is anathema to proggers, according to Mister Sinfield. No mention of dog food, Sean! Five techno thrillers, for arguments sake!

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 Sleep With The Fishes  by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.08 | 20 ratings

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Sleep With The Fishes
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Well my dog brought me this "frisbee" and I realized that I can now cross swords again with my esteemed colleague Sean Trane, since we seem to be at polar opposites in terms of taste and courtesy, as he is our own Lester Bangs! We do occasionaly agree (Magma, par exemple) but Dear Hugues, "en garde!", my foil is sharp . For those who falsely claim that prog is an old-fashioned modern rehash, take a moment to give this cutting edge new prog offering a listen. Previous debut album and "Jet Set Radio" are also fine modern musical essays , let us throw in the critical success of VU offshoot , Pineaprle Thief. So these two accomplished musicians are no slouches, consistently delivering sonic experimentation kept gritty by the repeated muscular guitar and spiced up with some whimsical moments best expressed by the vocal work that combines song and narration. Though not at the same majestic level as Porcupine Tree, this is a winnng formula where modern beats joust with a near techno-trance coating, a slew of interactive instruments such as oboe, clarinet, sax & flute wrestle with the previously mentioned mean guitar (in tone very U2 "Edgy" )and the whistling synth stylings. Lots of swinging moods, meandering melodies,reptilian bass and odd-ball lyrics cook up quite a storm. This is the future, boys and girls, so please do not nose-dive like a train (Sean Trane) into instant dismissal, to each is own, taste is not debatable, Give this a fair shake as it is rather good . 4.5 sleepy aquariums

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 The Fine Art Of Living by VULGAR UNICORN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 11 ratings

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The Fine Art Of Living
Vulgar Unicorn Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Bruce Soord who also plays with PINEAPPLE THIEF re-unites with his former mate Neil Randall from their VULGAR UNICORN days to present not only a new album, but also a second disc comprised of VULGAR UNICORN material that was either lost or are original demos .

The new material on the first disc reminds me a little of DREDG, it's alternative sounding with more of an emphasis on the guitar. The first three songs are very good, lots of guitar and some of it is quite heavy. "Lament For Mayer" is mellow, piano laden with vocals similar to Billy from SMASHING PUMPKINS. "Gliders V1.1(Water Machine)" really reminds me of CAKE, the speaking instead of singing vocals. Good song. Another favourite is "Beachlife" which opens with some good drumming and features more great guitar from Bruce.

The second disc has an eighties feel to it, but it's quite good. "Stile Over The World" features some nice horns, reminding me of the PSYCHEDELIC FURS. "The House At Fudge Corner" is a highlight on this disc, the horns, guitar, and it gets pretty heavy. The fifth song really reminds me of SLOAN, another good one.

This is a fun release that I do recommend to both VULGAR UNICORN and PINEAPPLE THIEF fans, but also to those into Alternative Rock.

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