This could be the time when Unknown Mortal Orchestra become the Well Known Mortal Orchestra. Previous records have become increasingly catchy, radio friendly and certainly more indebted to the man we used to call Prince without totally ruining their underground coolness. 'Sex & Food' has the artwork and title (and multi-formats) to suggest this could be a step towards to major leagues.
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They’ve done it, then: Unknown Mortal Orchestra have found their gear and they’re staying in it for the rest of their existence. Having wowed and united our entire office with the most unlikely of things -- a funky ode to polyamorous living in sonic homage to Prince called ‘Multi-Love’ -- they here offer more of the same, a muffled, low-key reiteration of the record that got them out of the psych game and rendered them as a majestic pop band.
‘Sex & Food’ is chiller, and at times it is weirder. It is not the sound of a band perfecting their sound; now they’ve found it, Unknown Mortal Orchestra see strange potentials in each corner of it. Future Islands found their smash hit sound and painted it by numbers on the next record; UMO are here jammier, less forthright in their hooks, instead creating a kind of abstract lounge version of their best record. The grooves don’t immediately gravitate towards the best thing and frontman Ruban Nielson sounds intangible, like he’s rising from the couch to get out a few murmurations.
In time, this record might be the better companion piece for your life; the thematic stresses of ‘Multi-Love’ come out in bold, fluorescent colours and long, epic jams (no matter how smooth); this record’s largely sleepy, shrugged-off key is one to keep spinning on your player until every day is a Sunday. Even the wilder, more rawked out moments feel free of a care, taking on a kind of hard rock bluster that's pretty much whatever, man, just go with it, and here it is, huh.
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