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Premiere: James McCartney’s ‘Unicorn’ from ‘Blackberry Train’ album

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James McCartney is priming the pump for the May 6 release of his album “The Blackberry Train” with the powerfully rocking first single from the record, “Unicorn,” which is premiering on Pop & Hiss.

“ ‘Unicorn’ is a song that has elements of the avant-garde and psychedelic in it, and a lot of emotion,” McCartney tells The Times. “It’s one of those songs that when you listen to it -- or when I play it -- you turn the volume up to 10 and get lost in it, in a good way.”

“Unicorn” will be available March 22 as a free instant download for those who pre-order the album.

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The song opens with a rapid-fire backbeat and a throbbing bass line, with distorted electric guitars scratching their way into the foreground as McCartney vocalizes a pastiche of thoughts and feelings: “All the joy…why am I here?...no idea…true love!”

It’s the first single from the album, although the track “Too Hard” was released in February as an instant download and features another Beatle offspring, George Harrison’s son, Dhani, in a more straightforward catchy rock pop hummer.

The rest of the album offers an expanse of moods, from the dreamy but propulsive “Waterfall” to the hard-driving “Paralysis” to the melancholy “Fantasy” and the bright pop ditty “Ring a Ring O’ Roses.”

“This set of songs definitely has a harder edge, but it’s a continuation of the last album,” McCartney said, referring to his 2013 debut, “Me.” “The main thing for me is to not conform or compromise.”

McCartney will return to the U.S. for a string of shows in support of the album, beginning May 10 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and also including a stop the following night at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. Full information on the tour is available at McCartney’s website.

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