Published Feb 12, 2014Over the past decade, Nick Thorburn has released albums with a diverse string of projects, including Islands, Reefer, Human Highway and Mister Heavenly, but many fans still long for him to return to his prior band, the Unicorns. Those fans may soon get their wish, since the short-lived (but fondly remembered) group are planning a reunion.
The band's Alden Penner, who has since played with Clues, Hidden Words and as a solo artist, told Exclaim! contributor Vish Khanna on his Kreative Kontrol podcast that some reunion shows are in the works.
"I can verify that, yeah," Penner said in regards to the reunion. "There are no specifics right now, but we might arrange a handful of shows. We're definitely talking about playing together and seeing what happens. And we'll probably do some shows in the major cities we've played in— probably Toronto, Montreal, New York, L.A., Vancouver — that sort of thing. Whatever's feasible and it being conditional on it being fun for us to do."
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Unicorns' breakup, since they called it quits in late 2004. They almost reunited last year for the 10th anniversary of their lone full-length, 2003's Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, but this didn't work out.
While upcoming plans are still up in their air, the trio — which also includes Jamie Thompson — are tentatively planning to get together in April and go public by the fall. They're also hoping to reissue the aforementioned LP. Penner revealed, "We just recently obtained the master rights for it so, we're technically administering it. We had talked about remastering [it] and including some other recordings that never made it out. All of that requires another level of organization."
He called 2014 the "Year of the Unicorn," and while the band members haven't spoken as a group, they've had productive individual conversations. Although they didn't break up on good terms, those fences have since been mended.
"The main thing about this is, it's my relationship with Nick," Penner reflected. "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 endeavour — 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 honour that friendship. It's never too late to that sort of thing, even though it might feel that way as you get older."
UPDATE: In a statement to Spin, Thorburn has downplayed the reunion talk somewhat, writing, "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."
Stay tuned for more updates. Below, listen to the band's extremely prophetic 2004 song "Unicorns: 2014."
As recently reported, Penner released his solo effort EXEGESIS earlier this month, while Thorburn is taking his Islands on a Canadian tour in March.