Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Multi-Love

Written by: BV on 12/06/2015 20:16:14

If I’ve managed to uncover one thing about Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s music throughout my interest in the band, it is that the band functions as a highly schizophrenic outlet of music. From my earliest introduction to the band via the funky guitar-driven psych of their sophomore album “II” I found myself intrigued and amused, but I never really got the impression that it would be a lasting sound that the band would simply settle with. Now back with their third album, “Multi-Love”, I’m having a sort of “told you so” moment as the sound of the band has shifted drastically from a guitar-driven to a synth-driven approach – all while maintaining the mind-expanding, funky edge that fans as well as skeptics have come to associate with the band.

It’s a notable change when hearing tracks like “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” which is some sort of trippy mixture of salsa, flamenco, funk and pure old psych pop. Lyrically speaking, it can be viewed as a critique of modern society and the light addiction to technology we arguably all ‘suffer’ from. In its essence, however, the track is an exceptionally well-written and smoothly produced pop song which will stick to mind long after you last heard it. It’s catchiness in its purest form, but it’s not entirely what I would have hoped Unknown Mortal Orchestra would begin toying with.

Two of the album’s highlights in the form of “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty” and “The World is Crowded” share very few things save for the bombastic production. Blink and you’ll miss the sporadic outlet of guitar featured on “The World is Crowded”, while the strangely upbeat “Extreme Wealth…” will leave with a strong ambivalence in your emotional register, as the lyrics are dark as hell while the music seems occasionally chirpy. It’s a contradiction Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and the man behind the project, Ruban Nielson seems to feed on as it leaves a definite mark on the album as a whole. Who could blame him really, when it all seemingly leads to endearing pop tracks drenched in psychedelic synths and massive, albeit slightly cliché-fueled lyricism?

“Multi-Love” as a whole is certainly a well-structured and more skillfully crafted piece of work than both the previous Unknown Mortal Orchestra albums. What I fail to be thrilled about, however, is the tiny input Nielson’s otherwise eclectic guitar playing has had on the album. The synths are cool, and the soundscape as a whole is genuinely lush but I would actually just have wanted Nielson to flaunt his guitar talents on top of this masterfully crafted album to generate at least some sort of coherence with the band’s previous efforts. I can’t have it all, obviously, but complaints aside “Multi-Love” might just be my favorite Unknown Mortal Orchestra album yet.

7

Download: Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty, Multi-Love, Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
For The Fans Of: Tame Impala, Pond, Foxygen
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 26.05.2015
Jagjaguwar


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