Giant Drag: Hearts And Unicorns

We all know the course of true love never runs smooth, but lell, it’s sure fun while it lasts

Giant Drag are ace. There. Said it. Now I’m going to run away, hide under my duvet, and listen to ‘Kevin Is Gay’, the absolutely brilliant lead cut from their debut record, really, really loud. And giggle. Man, I’ve got a total crush on Giant Drag.

See, ever since they came bounding onto our radar mid-last year, fronted by foul-mouthed femme singer/guitarist Annie Hardy and backed with aplomb by drum dude Micah Calabrese, the LA duo have been the kind of band who make you blush, yearn and smile – prerequisites of any good crush. There’s Annie’s potty-gobbed-proclamations all over the gloriously goofy ‘You Fuck Like My Dad’, the really rather smashing, understated synth pop of, er, ‘Smashing’, and the frantic, frivolous fun of ‘This Isn’t It’, cornerstones of a record you want to ask to dance, return your gaze and notice you’ve put your best sneakers on for. That Annie’s words are delivered with the kind of stone-cold nonchalance your average inhabitant of Madame Tussauds would have to study and perfect is neither here nor there. I’m just going to stand here, sup my cola and watch Micah pound the shit out of his drums. They’ve even got a song entitled ‘Slayer’. What more could a boy want?

Really, ‘Kevin Is Gay’ is absolutely brilliant, the musical equivalent of walking into a room, seeing the foxiest girl for miles around, stubbing your toe and looking up to see her gazing right back at you. It’s the kind of song that grabs you by the fingertips, swirls you around and lets go, leaving you clinging on to the walls and tumbling into the furniture. I just played it once. Twice. Thrice. And still it sounds utterly, utterly dashing. Let’s give it another spin shall we? Yup. It still sounds totally ace.

They’re also the kind of band you want to be asked up to their bedroom by – if only to flick through their record collection. ‘Hearts And Unicorns’ is a record smeared with the soul of The Breeders, My Bloody Valentine, PJ Harvey and a gazillion other indie rock picks worthy of going weak at the knees for. You can hear the pomp of Veruca Salt all over ‘Cordial Invitation’, or the sparse, skeletal arrangements of The Slits in their aching live reinterpretation of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’.

Yet there’s something stopping me from giving the entirety of my heart to them. Perhaps it’s the radiant glare of the album’s highpoints and the consequent low points that fall in and between the bright, white glaze of the songs that leave us feeling dizzy and dazed. Perhaps it’s that there’s three-quarters of a brilliant debut here, with one segment absent of the fervour which makes the majority of it such a thrilling listen. Perhaps I’m expecting too much. Perhaps delirium is enough to ask for in a record, but frankly, I want more. Here I am listening to ‘Kevin Is Gay’, knowing that they’ve got the skills and the tricks to keep me chomping at the bit. Knowing that they could be the one. Y’see, right now it’s only a crush, but in time, well… it could well be love.

James Jam