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Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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iTunes Review

Formed by (underrated) Mint Chicks guitarist Ruban Nielson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra sounds like an Elephant 6 band sent back to the ‘70s. They groove on simple funk rhythms, guitars and keys cloaked in a rather thorny kind of reverb, a snare drum happily clanking out a bony backbeat. Nielson’s voice sounds like a cross between Beck and Marc Bolan, and his proficient guitar work periodically steps out into the limelight, like a shy stoner trying out his moves. On the BandCamp viral “hit,” “FFunny FFriends,” Nielson offers up a coolly restrained 30-second break amidst the snaky rhythm parts, and on “Bicycle,” the spare lead is accompanied by a hilarious and charming manipulated vocal approximation of a wah-wah peddle. The garage-punk guitars on “Nerve Damage” are one unexpected delight, among many: “Strangers Are Strange” undulates to a slinky, soul-pop vibe (remember Sly & The Family Stone?), and “Thought Ballune” is a paisley-colored slice of sweet psych-pop that could turn a dark day sunny. The brilliance of “How Can You Luv Me” is evident from the first bit of Fender Mustang funk-twang and percolating bass line. Dance? Try not to.

Customer Reviews

Buy it.

That they're touring with Yuck! and Toro y Moi is an appropriate indicator of both their talent and of the range of sounds one might expect to hear should they attend one of those shows and/or pick up this perfectly-timed, instant classic. Start your summer off right and buy it.

you should see them live!

they're on tour in america, you should see them live, soooo good! i love this album so much

Best summer album 2011

See title.


Formed: 2010 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

After disbanding New Zealand's the Mint Chicks, Portland, Oregon's Ruban Neilson 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...
Full Bio
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
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