Unknown Mortal Orchestra


Written by: BV on 28/04/2013 17:58:15

Unknown Mortal Orchestra rang no familiar bells whatsoever in my mind, when I first heard their name. Nonetheless, a friend of mine had repeatedly stated that I couldn’t be a fan of modern psychedelic music if I didn’t even have the slightest clue, as to who Unknown Mortal Orchestra were. Slightly insulted and vaguely intrigued I tasked myself with the job of listening to their second album, aptly titled “II” in order to review it – both to save a little honor but also to see if it was actually as cool sounding as I had been led to believe.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra seems to sound like they have listened to the quirkier and more psychedelic side of The Beatles for quite a while before starting to make music – no blame there, after all who hasn’t listened to The Beatles. The track “From The Sun” rings with a soothing acoustic sound and some rather delicate vocal harmonies reminiscent of both The Beatles, but also The Byrds. The track soon takes on an electric form and grows to be slightly funkier, once again slightly reminiscent of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper period. – Both in terms of songwriting but also in terms of the production, as the latter sound vastly reminds me of a typical British studio-recording of the late 60’s.

With “The Opposite of Afternoon” Unknown Mortal Orchestra maintains the former influences but also delve quite a bit deeper into the psychedelic territories with the slightly funk bass line and the overdriven tremolo guitar. While never taking a full turn into the scenic depths of psychedelia, Unknown Mortal Orchestra seems to rely on the folk-psych instrumentation to act as a vehicle for the strange and, well, quirky lyrics that I have actually come to enjoy quite a bit.

As the album progresses, we are introduced to long-runner “Monki” – a vast jam-inspired piece that slowly, yet steadily, works its way through the many layers of sound introduced on other tracks of the album. – “Monki”, in other words, acts like a musical suite displaying the most interesting, as well as the more peculiar, aspects of Unknown Mortal Orchestra throughout a 7 minute mellow journey.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is definitely psychedelic, however they reside in a psych-territory I don’t find myself occupied with that often. It has been an interesting listen and the album offers quite a few psyched out tracks with some really cool sounds to them. I can’t imagine how they will pull these sounds off live, but I’m getting quite sure that I have to experience it at some point. All in all a good second effort and a solid platform for further development.


Download: Monki, The Opposite of Afternoon, Faded In the Morning
For The Fans Of: The Beatles, Pink Mountaintops, Psychic Ills
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 05.02.2013

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