by Katie Gilgour
When I was ten years old, my friend and I decided to take on an impossible task. Our mission? We were going to prove that unicorns were real. I spent hours Googling stories about the elusive unicorn, scribbling notes in my journal as if I were preparing some sort of groundbreaking scientific report.
To this day, I have never seen a unicorn. But I’ve heard their music.
Enter Aquamarine Space Unicorns.
The musical duo, comprised of artists Joyanna M and Lily Bell, call themselves an anti-band. And their work is indeed rebellious: She Persisted (The Brink) and Naked Truth are undeniably political, with tracks like She Persisted and Covfefe. Similarly, Winter Rose brings attention to survivors of domestic violence.
Aquamarine Space Unicorns’s latest full-length album, Anartist, continues this trend with electronic beats and haunting lyrics. A play on the words “artist” and “anarchist,” the unicorns define “anartist” as “the act of making art outside of the expectations of the establishment.”
Although the music of Anartist reminds me of artists like Insects vs Robots and Kai Altair, it’s not quite like anything I’ve ever heard. It’s as gritty as it is poppy and dance-able, and Lily Bell’s vocals are a perfect match for such diverse melodies.
What I love most about Anartist, though, is that every song tells a story. The album opens with the appropriately titled Again Begin and takes the listener into the throes of heartbreak and loss: “To be alone/It’s so cold/Must it always/Unfold this way?” Even the instrumental tracks have a clearly defined narrative. “PTSD,” for instance, sounds like its title; it’s not exactly a pleasant tune, but it gives you a glimpse of anxiety after trauma.
Despite these individual chapters, the album succeeds as one cohesive unit, exploring darker stories so many of us do not dare to tell. It’s almost as if the Aquamarine Space Unicorns actually did travel here from their home planet to share their music–and Earth is better for it.