“It just doesn’t sound like there’s a blanket over it” explains Ruban Nielson when talking about the production of the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album, ‘Multi-Love’, out May 25th through Jagjaguwar. The front man of UMO is right with his description. The previous two efforts from the New Zealand-born super genius have been shy, nervous and timid peregrinations through his extensive mind and thought processes, all of which have been wrapped up in a fried, psychedelic rock exterior that was lo-fi to the extreme. The new single though, being the title track lifted off the new LP, is a sharp jolt and left turn from what we’re used to when hearing a new cut from UMO, and shows us a whole new side of the dense and mysterious, psych rock concept that Nielson has developed over all this time.
A jovial synth plays out a distinctly kooky lead line at the very start of ‘Multi-Love’, signalling a permutation and change in the aesthetic of the music. Creating a foundation for development, the track goes on to support a highly discernable and serrated vocal line from Nielson that confirms the Hi-fi vision that he’s often talked about in recent interviews. It’s a sound that doesn’t overreach itself though, or alienate you with its newfound elitism. Lyrics like, ‘Multi-love checked into my heart and trashed it like a hotel room’, draws you in and keeps you fixed upon what happens next as the lustre of the production unfolds. The clap of drums and the ever-buoyant keys that underpin the track opens up a new world of psychedelia that we haven’t yet seen before from UMO, and no doubt will no doubt be expanded upon on the forthcoming album, welcoming a new and exciting change to Ruban Nielson’s approach to songwriting and musicianship in general.
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Review by Dan E Brown |