Some twenty first century scorn from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Multi-Love is the next instalment from the art-pop freaks. This one is full of Ruban Nielson's dreamy croon, swaying synthesisers and grooved out bass & drums. It sounds like Steely Dan, Tame Impala and Deerhunter somehow collaborated in New Zealand. Out on vinyl LP and CD from Jagjaguwar.
CD £6.99 JAG262CD
CD on Jagjaguwar.
Vinyl LP £25.49 JAG262DLX
Ltd indies only pink coloured vinyl LP + 2 track exclusive 12". ONE COPY PER CUSTOMER.
- Coloured vinyl
- Indies only
Vinyl LP £17.48 JAG262LP-C1
Coloured vinyl LP on Jagjaguwar.
- Coloured vinyl
Behold ‘Multi-Love’, wherein Unknown Mortal Orchestra get out of the psych pop game and take up a nice suburban retirement listening to Prince; wherein they forget the high-minded art practices and sing La La La La, La La La La, because it feels good; wherein their studio sounds like an open-air funk fairground, full of people in queues bursting into dance. Behold one of the best new pop records to be made in the realms of indie stuffiness.
I almost feel like describing the melodies and hooks on this record would suck them of their fun, but at the same time, ‘Multi-Love’ is written with a wink to its processes: the album cover shows a busy recording studio with guitars tucked away and soundboards ripe for the tinkering. The important thing, though, is that fluorescent pink light beaming down on the equipment: you can hear how proficient UMO are on this record, with all the instrumental calibrations coming together perfectly -- but you mainly remember the humming earworm choruses.
“Ur Life One Night” wobbles with wah funk guitar, held together neatly by drumming that sounds like stagehanding, an attempt at keeping the scene in place. Ruban Nielson sings a cheerful, giggly melody but stifles it a little to keep it in line with the record’s sleek, minimal aesthetic, rolling into the disco bassline of “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” like they’re DJs keeping the vibe up for everyone. They’re not, though, they’re a band: when the chorus of “Can’t Keep Checking” comes on, you’ll hear them together, tethered by handclaps and a synth line that serves as Nielson’s backing vocal.
The bookend of this record is UMO’s best work today, offsetting sparkly melodies with shades of melancholy: “Stage or Screen” has the most forlorn la la las in the history of recorded las, played out over a trembling guitar tone and fanfare synth. “Neccessary Evil” grooves under cover of darkness, its bold keyboard a red herring for a well hidden pop song. It’s strange, really: ‘Multi-Love’ could sound totally subtle at one moment and exalted in pop glory the next. How very sneaky. Or not.
9/10 John Lewis 16th September 2015
Where did this come from? Listened to bits of their previous music and nothing like this latest slice of pop funk. Stand outs are the wonderful title track and "Can't keep checking me phone" and "Ur Life one Night"but the whole package is a joy. The tight funk grooves remind me of 80s (prime) era Prince. The falsetto vocals and even song titles do nothing to lesson this comparison. In fact this is the album that could have come after "Sign of the Times" instead of the less rewarding "Lovesexy". But Multi-Love is certainly more than a Prince pastiche. The songs throuout are catchy, sassy and as modern as they are authentically funky. The production, arrangements and instrumentation are all on the button and time will tell if UMO have created a modern pop classic.
9/10 Kenzie 16th June 2015
A dreamy album with a new found edge built on Ruben Neilsons past critically acclaimed album II.
Neilsons stated himself that this album has nodded towards a more positive sound and I couldn't agree more, With songs like 'Cant keep checking my phone' Which gets me bopping around and singing every time (its been on repeat since I first heard it back in May and I'm STILL not bored of it) and 'Ur life one Night' Which nods towards a RnB vibe that has me snaking around the curb when walking anywhere with my headphones in, its easy to see how Unknown Mortal Orchestra have picked up a more positive vibe since the sleepy, paranoid and frustrated II.
Neilson keeps his sound though, Multi Love is still easily recognised at Unknown Mortal Orchestra and even at its slowest times its never boring. Songs like 'Necessary evil' with a slow relaxing sound is picked up with a super chirpy lo-fi trumpet is awesome and I find myself putting on the song just for that split 3 second trumpet.
Tuneful moments like this are spread all the way through the album and its a total pleasure to listen to start to finish.
A lot of artists cant back up such a good album with a excellent live set, but from seeing UMO at the Thekla in Bristol they were even better.
An Excellent album which is proof that UMO just get better and better with every album developing a RnB Psychedelic sound that doesn't rely on guitar, synth or Funky bass but comes together to make an exciting sound all round.
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