TRACK BY TRACK: Totally Unicorn Break Down Their New Album, 'High Spirits//Low Life'

18 February 2022 | 9:06 am | Staff Writer

Totally Unicorn have today released their highly anticipated third record, 'High Spirits//Low Life'. To celebrate the release of the record and dissect its meaning, lead singer Drew Gardner has broken down each track, its creation and its sentiment.

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Yeah, Coach

This was one of the last songs we wrote for the album. Dean and Myers wrote the basic structure with bass and drums as we wanted to try a more stripped down song with a continuous groove throughout. Once it all came together, we knew it was the perfect song to open the album.

Tip Your Tinfoil Hat 

Probably more of the Unicornesque songs off the album. It’s frantic and has those, what I dub, the Aaron bird squawk guitar slides that he’s so good at. I wrote these lyrics right in the middle of the pandemic. All I saw on social media was anger and hate fuelled with misinformation. Unfortunately, it was from a lot of people close to me. I was very upset and on edge about it all. So, I just wrote it all down.

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Old Mate

One of the first riffs created for the album was the intro to this song. It has a lot of elements but goes on a nice journey from start to finish. It features vocals from a very talented friend of ours called Alice Amsel AKA Bvllvds. Her vocals really turned this song around and complimented the tone perfectly. Lyrically, we have all been there. Sitting at the pub when a random comes up and just kills the entire vibe. No matter what you say they won’t leave so in the end it's you that has to move tables or change location.

Weekday Warrior

This was the very first song we wrote for the album. At the time of writing it we were still very unsure of where we wanted to go musically and how we would all go writing together with the new dynamic of the band. I think it was a good starting point and will be a really fun song to play live. Having worked in the retail world as many do, we all learn quickly that there is no such thing as a weekend. It’s always the case where all ya mates will organise a nice dinner or hang out on the weekend but you can’t ever make it because you are working. This is the story about my weekend one Tuesday.

High Spirits//Low Life

This song was a wild ride in all phases of its creation. It pretty much came to us in two parts which we combined later on. Lachlan Mitchell who engineered the album really brought it to life with all his wild ideas like running organs and guitars through an old Leslie Rotary Speaker. When recording vocals, I had written and recorded a guide track so when it was time I could get them down easier as it’s a long song. A week after I recorded the vocals, some huge things had happened personally to a couple of us which was really heartbreaking. It was tough to see them going through it and dealing with the issues. Especially as we were in the middle of recording the record – something we had all been looking forward to for a while.

I said “fuck it” and ditched all the lyrics I had for the song and re-wrote them based off the events that had transpired to the other band members. It was kind of my way of letting them know that I was there for them and things will get better.

The Catch

We wrote this one like a week or so before going into the studio. We had all the other songs down and ready to go, so we figured it was worth trying to write one more. I love Aarons weird guitar playing at the start of the song. I’ve never written a love song before but I guess this is the closest thing I have come to that hahah.


When we started writing this one we had Jay (Frenzal Rhomb) in mind to be a part of it. It’s not that we were conscious about writing to suit him but everything just fell into place so well. All we had to do was ask him to sing on the recording, and luckily he agreed. I sent Jay the song with the lyrics and where we wanted him to sing. He sent us back a quick phone recording of him singing over the top and it was perfect! So, we got him in and he banged it out first take. I grew up on early 90s punk rock, so it’s kind of my homage to that. Getting old not seeing friends as often, falling outta contact or just not the same people. You’ve heard it before.

Trust Fund Glee

I think this one is all as a band one of our favorites. Again, it was a big song in the way of writing. I think this one took us around a year to get to a place where we were all happy with it. Once we had finished it we thought it was a perfect song to get our good friends Kirsty (party dozen) and Dan (Arse) on to be a part of it and to give it that extra bit of spice. Lyrically: Seeing people succeed by buying their way to the top and putting no work in whatsoever. This is a fuck you to people that never have to worry about tomorrow.

Not Winning

This song caused…  I won’t say fights but disagreements within the band. Aaron wrote the the song, which was totally different to anything we have ever done. It had a bit of a kind of indie bop to it, which we were very unsure of at first. It was a song that always got brought up at an end of a jam and we would try to run through it just always slightly off what we were thinking. I think it was only a few weeks into heading into the studio we found it’s legs and fuck me it felt good.

Vocally for me it was a huge test as it’s the first song that I’m really singing throughout. Which is something I always wanted to try and i guess I managed to pull it off.

Lyrically: Wanting to help a mate better themselves because you love them and are worried about them. As much as you try they refuse the help. Unfortunately sometimes you gotta let them be and figure it out themselves.

High Spirits//Low Life is out now