Psychedelic pop legends, New Zealand’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra continue to explore the cosmic soundscape to infinity and beyond. A concoction of futuristic synths and untraveled lyrical terrain, if you’re one of UMO’s zillion supporters then you’re in for a treat with their third instalment, Multi-Love.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra feel the love on their third LP Multi-Love. Their cosmic grooves explores love and the mind fuck it can create.
Brainchild of frontman Ruban Nielson, UMO is known for its blazing swirl of psych pop. Ever since Nielson anonymously uploaded single Ffunny Ffrends onto his Bandcamp profile in 2010, the band’s fan base has swelled. While Nielson’s sophomore album II explored loneliness, his latest LP plunges into relationships. After experiencing what it’s like when three people come together in one relationship, he retreated to his Portland basement studio to record tracks about love, lust and loss. Rebuilding worn out synthesisers, experimenting with psychedelic sounds and exploring new ideas, their latest album is emotionally, lyrically and sonically warped, hazardous and full of kaleidoscopic funk.
Setting off into the super-fi, UMO ramped up the cosmic synthesisers and disco vibes in funk-infused opener and lead single Multi-Love. Soaked in synths, Nielson’s falsetto vocals and his brother and former Mint Chicks bandmate Kody Nielson’s hard-hitting drums send you off into the unknown. Multi-layered and multi-dimensional, this track’s insane hallucinatory beat will have you transfixed.
Venturing further into unchartered terrain, techy second single Can’t Keep Checking My Phone is based on Nielson’s experiences of missing someone so much that even receiving a text, email or inbox message just won’t cut it. Probing deeper into the differences between virtual and physical relationships, its grooving bassline, disco handclaps and frenzied rhythm could make it UMO’s most dance-worthy track yet.
Taking the dance vibes down a notch, Extreme Wealth And Casual Cruelty is a six-minute voyage into the land of electronics. Nielson’s robotic lo-fi vocals are backed by a chorus of haphazard guitars and heavy horns that give the tune a strange and unearthly feel. Bringing some Stevie Wonder soul, Necessary Evil is downtempo psych at its smoothest. A blurred beat that slips in some more horns, Nielson’s lyrics reach peak raw emotion when he admits that, “I don’t get what you see in me. Lovin’ me could be your fatal flaw”.
An intimate look into Nielson’s experiences with relationships, UMO’s third LP proves that love really can be a multi-dimensional mindfuck. Leaping into an unknown emotional, lyrical and musical terrain, it’s a cosmic journey into something so human, yet so alien at the same time. Out on 22nd May through Jagjaguwar Records/Inertia, if you think these psych poppers couldn’t get any more wickedly warped, think again.