9 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third album filters the warped, psychedelic strangeness of 2011’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra and 2013’s II through the novelistic side of soul artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder. Named in part after multi-instrumentalist mastermind Ruban Nielson’s difficult foray into polyamory, Multi-Love explores huge themes (trust, love, family) with vintage synthesizers and analog haze, flirting with disco (“Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”), funk (“Necessary Evil”), and soft rock along the way.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third album filters the warped, psychedelic strangeness of 2011’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra and 2013’s II through the novelistic side of soul artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder. Named in part after multi-instrumentalist mastermind Ruban Nielson’s difficult foray into polyamory, Multi-Love explores huge themes (trust, love, family) with vintage synthesizers and analog haze, flirting with disco (“Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”), funk (“Necessary Evil”), and soft rock along the way.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
96 Ratings
96 Ratings
Knick-gnome

Whaaaaaa

Holy shart this dong is amazing!!!

Flirt Reynolds

Music shouldn't be this good.

Love this band.
Such unique chord progressions.
"Multi-Love" = best song of the year.
"Can't Keep Checking My Phone" is a dance party in your eardrums. The Chorus is so catchy. It was stuck in my head for like a week straight.
"The World is Crowded" is such a laid back summer jam.
"Necessary Evil" is great as well.
Definitely go back and check out the first two records.
"So good at being in trouble" is one of my favorite songs, ever.
"Ffunny Ffriends" is pretty great also.

garciapiano

UMO's Poppier Side is Rad.

This album is fire. Been a huge fan of UMO's sound since their early albums. In this new, –albeit short– release, they manage to fuse their fuzzy, ornamented psych-rock into a funkier, dancier production style. Fusing strong lyrical hooks with a focused, yet still marginally-defined garagey sound creates a new lens through which their music can laser-focus on jumping into the public eye. The new single "Can't Keep Checking My Phone" lays a disjointed, almost Prince-styled vocal line layered over a straight disco back-beat. It's infectious and fresh, without being pretentious, and the perfect song to bring in the Summer. "Multi-Love" merges a sweeping, haunting vocal line with a confident, driving drum line and sitar arpeggios that only UMO themselves can pull off. It's a perfect marriage of classical, psychedelic and funk sounds, and conceptually one of the best albums they've constructed.

True UMO die-hards will probably lament the poppier side of this album, citing that UMO simply doesn't need to get overly bubbly, go full disco or follow current trends of "hipster dance music" to be easily accessible. One might even venture that this is their first-ditch attempt to jump to the mainstream; not surprisingly, the singles from this album could easily be heard on a radio station. And to that I say: good music needn't stay in the garage, these guys deserve to be heard. They made a strong pact with their producer to remain true to their musical roots, and have simply honed their ideas to a fine edge (though still a fuzzier edge than most) that people can focus on. Long story short, buy this album...

About Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's genre-defying approach to music has allowed lead songwriter Ruban Nielson to evolve their sound with every new album. After disbanding New Zealand's the Mint Chicks, he planned to quit music and take on a day job. For a hobby, he started making psychedelic demos in his basement using samples. Soon, music took over as a career again, and his fun brand of experimental pop ended up in the hands of Fat Possum Records, who released Unknown Mortal Orchestra's self-titled debut in the early summer of 2011. As interest in the project grew, Neilson enlisted the help of a full band for a promotional tour and then signed with Jagjaguwar for UMO's sophomore album, II. During the tour, Neilson was often asked to pop in to radio stations and play a couple songs. Having just picked up acoustic guitar, he saw this as a chance to explore a different sound and style, which he documented on 2013's EP Blue Record. Recorded to one mike in his basement, the record is made up of three songs from II and covers of Dirty Projectors and Beck. Neilson spent much of 2014 working on the next Unknown Mortal Orchestra album, Multi-Love. Though Jagjaguwar gave him a budget large enough to record in a "real" studio, Neilson retreated to his home studio and his homemade synthesizers and recording gear. With his brother Kody helping out on drums (and his dad Chris on occasional horns), the music he crafted turned away from the expansive psychedelic sound he'd established toward something more focused, with soul and R&B influences mixed in. It also delved deeply into the period of romantic turmoil Nielson was experiencing as he recorded the album. Multi-Love was released in May of 2015. However, his next record shifted the focus on to the wider world, partly in reaction to increasing political upheaval; 2018's Sex & Food included some of Nielson's most rock-centric work to date. ~ Jason Lymangrover

ORIGIN
Portland, OR
FORMED
2010

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