Posts Tagged ‘Ruban Nielson’

Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra are band that always moved between psych-rock, frenetic sonics and oddball funk. Sex and Food finds a bit of everything of the band’s established sounds in there along but perhaps with everything pushed to the fringes or testing the limits somewhat. So there’s the aggressively-charged distorted rock of ‘American Guilt’ alongside the positively ’70s yacht rock tracks ‘Ministry of Alienation’ and ‘Everybody Acts Crazy Nowadays’. “When it comes to rock, I want to get into dodgier territory.”, is how Nielson has talked about the album.

Nielson’s voice remains as the peculiar whispering floating timbre. It’s a little creepy, a little laconic, and totally unique. With influences drawn from places he visited like Reykjavík, Seoul, Auckland, Hanoi and Mexico, away from the Portland home that informed much of his 2015 breakthrough record Multi-Love, Sex and Food ultimately, is like a patchwork of their sound to date.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays” from the album ‘Sex & Food’, Released April 6th, 2018 on Jagjaguwar. 

More superb psychedelic groove rock from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Sex & Food explores compositional variety and evolving style; from songs that swing and smack to those that simmer and sooth.

Ever since they burst on the scene with blog-favourite ‘Ffunny FFriends’, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have wilfully proved themselves ready to wrong-foot all of us at each turn. Led by New Zealand’s Ruban Nielson, they followed up on that buzzy single with a fully-formed, self-titled debut in 2011 that proved the hype was well placed. Next, ‘II‘, saw them dabble with a mainstream sound while keeping their sound firmly rooted in their scuzzy origins, and 2015’s ‘Multi-Love’ was a glorious psychedelic romp through Prince-tinged pop. It seemed only natural for them to continue boogie-ing towards the dancefloor and build on ‘Multi-Love”s dancier elements.

On their fourth album, ‘Sex & Food’, you’ll be relieved to know that they’re thrown themselves into another bold new direction for a set of fuzzy, funky and fun set of songs that’ll be rattling around your head all summer long. Most notably, on the comforting ‘Honeybee’, Nielson croons a groovy ode to his daughter amid stellar production: “Careful like an orchid / love survives forever / age of paranoia / don’t be such a modern stranger / oh angel.” It may well be the best song they’ve ever done – crafting a tune that’s tender in the right places and a mightily fun summer jam in all the others.

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While that song is as soothing a pair of fresh sheets, ‘Sex & Food’ features some of their trickiest and devilishly heavy work to date elsewhere. ‘Major League Chemicals’ squeals and squirms like Jimi Hendrix conquering Woodstock, and ‘American Guilt’ is a riff-heavy delight, as highly charged as anything by T-Rex or Black Sabbath. ‘Chronos Feasts On His Children’, meanwhile, conjures up images as grizzly as Francisco Goya’s 19th century painting of the ancient figure doing just that – “Chronos feasts on his children / like turning mango flesh.” This album is as lurid and unmissable as the title suggests.

‘Sex & Food’ comes with a handful of missteps, like the forgettable ‘Not In Love Were Just High’ and ‘This Doomsday’ in the album’s final third. But by and large, it sees UMO pushing their sound impressively, bending the rule book as crudely as they can before the spine breaks.

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly five years since Ruban Nielson — the mad genius and mastermind behind Unknown Mortal Orchestra — first started mysteriously posting his music on Bandcamp. In the years since, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have released two increasingly amazing (and at times totally confounding) full-length records of kaleidoscopic psych-pop that not only wowed critics, but garnered an almost cultishly devoted fanbase.  This May the band will release its third record — the sanguine and surprisingly funky Multi-Love — and head back out on the road.

"So thrilled to announce our UK tour this September.  Looking forward to this one!  Tickets on pre-sale via Songkick tomorrow at 9am GMT here:  bitly.com/umopresale  General on-sale is friday.  Details below:

9/22 / Brighton / Concorde 2 
9/23 / London / O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
9/24 / Birmingham / The Library at the Institute
9/25 / Manchester / The Ritz
9/28 / Nottingham / Rescue Rooms 
9/29 / Leeds / Brudenell Social Club 
9/30 / Glasgow / QMU"

Super excited to show you the new video for Multi-Love made by the multi-media artist Lionel “Vinyl” Williams. The video, gorgeous in itself, is an introduction to a playable interactive software environment you can explore in your own time, wandering around getting lost in the weirdness, taking more time to enjoy each part of it and trying to unlock the various behaviors that occur.