Dan Swanö has been going thru the original recordings of his old prog band Unicorn and giving them a sonic facelift. He started last year with “A Collection of Worlds – Resurrection.” And now. he has moved onto the next release in line, “The Weirdest of Tales.” The original recordings are from 1991 and now 27 years later, the music has been given a new lease on life.
Unicorn are/were definitely old school prog with tons of melody. They were somewhat of a precursor to Dan Swanö’s current prog band Nightingale. The style is certainly based in a Genesis meets Asia style. The band doesn’t sacrifice melody for technical chops. They can play for sure but it was always about the song first.
Sound wise, it is as clean and clear as you can imagine. This doesn’t sound as old as it is nor does it sound like some demo recording either. It sounds like a young prog band finding their way. While some of the lyrics might be a little pretentious (“Tunes for the Stork” comes to mind), isn’t that part of the charm of prog?
It’s 31 minutes long and comes with a lot of cool stuff too. From their bandcamp site: “There’s also a download link for a brand new transfer/edit of the legendary, 25 minute long Video recording: “Unicorn – i ett rum utan fönster 1989” featuring the classics “Times of Change”, “Yellow & Greg”, “Mr. K Just Left the Circus”, “Exhibition of Souls”, “Dreamland (Part II)” and “Visage”. On top of this, there’s also liner notes by all the members about “The Weirdest of Tales”. A complete set of lyrics (Some published for the very first time). A short essay about the recording/remastering by Dan Swanö. Various photo and memorabilia collages from around the time of the recording/release.”
If you enjoyed last years reissue of “A Collection of Worlds,” then “The Weirdest of Tales” is a no-brainer. It’s a fascinating look back in time at a truly talented artist during his formative stages. It’s also amazing to think that Edge of Sanity was happening AT THE SAME TIME. Just amazing.