Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - Oregon - Full Moon 231 - 07/02/15

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

When I checked out Unknown Mortal Orchestra's "Can't Keep Checking My Phone" last moonth, I was taken by a playful and entertaining track, so I lined up eager to check out the rest of the album. Could it be as whimsical and cool as the single? Yes, it could. Yes it is.

Singer, frontman and multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson's UMO is as groovy and funky as I can be able to listen to (I am not of the funky and groovy kind...). Not too funky, or too groovy. This is the cool stuff - colourful music, catchy and melodic, with some tongue-in-cheek - I assume. Multi-Love is Unknown Mortal Orchestra's third album in four years and it is the soundtrack to the summer of 2015. This is the path MGMT (maybe even Foxygen) should have chosen. This could have been an album by Beck (teamed up with, say, Rupert Hine and/or Thomas Dolby). Multi-Love unveils a splendidly colourful playfulness. The imaginative pop world of Nielson is wild and wonderful. You can't possibly predicts where his songs are going, as they twist and turn throughout the album. This is all like a puzzle, hence the closing track, "Puzzles". The Beethoven-meets-"I Say a Little Prayer"-ish title track sort of sets the tone for the album, and a whole lot of nice and neat songs follow. Nine tracks altogether, spinning and bouncing for only some 41 minutes. That is what I call perfect.

"Necessary Evil" is one of the stand-out tracks, along with the cool "Can't Keep..." and the aforementioned title-track. You should also check out the 60s psych-soul twist of "Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty" and "Stage or Screen", or the dazed and lazy slow-funk of "The World is Crowded". To quote Jagjaguwar: 'While legions of artists show fidelity to psychedelia's roots, Unknown Mortal Orchestra has always shared the rare quality that makes the genre's legends vital, a constant need for exploration.' Unknown Mortal Orchestra's looping and gliding pop music is joyous and brimming with happiness. Blend Sly and the Family Stone with The Beach Boys and Love, and many more. Including a warm, caring sound. Multi-Love holds warming melodies, with excellent instrumentation, cool singing, and nifty arrangements - including 'jagged, sculpted beats and cosmic synthesizers' (Jagjaguwar). The label also claims Nielson to come up with some 'expansive creativity', that he creates 'weightless', and further they say that 'the sheer sonic variety on Multi-Love suggests he's still feeling creative and restless'. All thumbs up! Nielson has said that he 'started playing the acoustic guitar last year. I'd always preferred the idea that the guitar converts a sound into voltage and then becomes really loud. I thought the acoustic guitar was a little bit too twee for me or something. But after being offered some opportunities to play various acoustic sessions to promote the new record, in situations where it wasn't possible to record the whole band, I decided to treat it like a challenge to try and play acoustic and not have it be lame.' He's also said that he 'didn't want to subscribe to the idea that synths are futuristic and guitars are old-fashioned... It's not about being a purist.'

Take a dive into the sea of Multi-Love. This is the REAL mindfulness.

Copyright © 2015 Howard 'Flower-Plower' Popeye e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Unknown Mortal Orchestra articles/reviews: Can't Keep Checking My Phone, Can't Keep Checking My Phone.

© 2015 Luna Kafé