UPDATE: Nick tells us in an email: “Don’t get your hopes up. We are talking right now but that’s as far as it’s gotten. We’ve talked about this kind of thing many times over the years and while it’s true that this is the furthest along it’s gotten, conceptually, it’s still just talk.”
The idiosyncratic Montreal-based herky-jerk indie band the Unicorns released a grand total of two albums, including 2003’s much-loved Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, before breaking up onstage at the end of 2004. After the breakup, frontman Nick Thorburn started his prolific project Islands. And even though his ex-Unicorns bandmate Alden Penner has been an occasional member of the group, Islands has always been its own thing. Thorburn and Penner are working together again now, but this time it’s a Unicorns reunion.
As Pitchfork points out, in a recent appearance on the Kreative Kontrol podcast, Penner says that the band has bought back the rights to Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, and they’re figuring out what to do with it. They’re talking about remastering the album and reissuing it with some unreleased material, and there’s also discussion of reunion shows and new music. Penner stresses that “these are all maybes” and says that the group is taking a “see what happens” approach, but he also wants to emphasize that the reunion, in whatever form it takes, won’t be a cash-in:
We met in high school and had this sincere, nice, musically-based friendship that, unfortunately got torn apart by music industry circumstances and competing attitudes about how things should be done. That’s really a minor thing when it comes down to renewing a friendship and that’s why I feel good about this particular endeavor — it’s not really a cash grab or based on any sort of nostalgia coming from those who’ve been calling for it for a long time. It feels like a point in my life where it’d be nice to honor that friendship. It’s never too late to that sort of thing, even though it might feel that way as you get older.
When band members are clarifying that a reunion is based on non-money reasons, that’s when you know it’s real.