Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra


4.0
excellent

Review

by MisterTornado CONTRIBUTOR (47 Reviews)
June 25th, 2011 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lo-fi psychedelic meets groovy indie-rock

Take a look at that album cover. There's certainly a retro vibe going on with the cross-processed shade of pink lining. The silver looking structure appears as if it could be giant, or relatively small considering its distance from the trees, and compared to its setting it's unnaturally out of place. There's a surreal quality to it though, the fact being that a messy hunk of modern architecture is placed in such a dull landscape, giving it a kind of bizarre pleasure. This cover can explain the music heard on Unknown Mortal Orchestra's debut quite nicely, being the sounds of lo-fi drenched psychedelia that feels both surreal and unconventional within its retro incased frame.

There's an overwhelming emphasis of 60s influenced rock throughout the album, but it's always carried by its roots of smoggy indie rock. "Bicycle" and "Jello and the Juggernauts" both feature fuzzy guitar plucks that are spaced out by subtle reverb pad, with the latter acting as more of a slow-jam of suspenseful chords, ultimately hinting comparisons to early psych-rock. "FFunny FFriends" and "Little Blu House" break the percussive mold on the album, promoting hip-hop-esque drum kits that are saturated in the album's constant lo-fi sound. The most distant sounding track here features the satirically absurd vocals of "Nerve Damage!" which wouldn't sound out of place on an early Ariel Pink record.

The second half of the album grooves on deep bass funk through tighter arrangements. The most coherent funk is heard on the wobbly low-end of "Strangers Are Strange", suited well with faint harmonies. While the lite-funk continues on "How Can You Luv Me", it's pounded by an effected drum kit and vocal croons that flirt with soul. To top it off, closer "Boy Witch" ripples in a soaked lo-fi buzz, retrospecting the sounds of old indoor malls and bike rides through the neighborhood.

The most important element to Unknown Mortal Orchestra is its pacing. The first couple of tracks are the longest, displaying a heavy influence in early psych-rock, but they give themselves time to play out with little stints of subtle improvisation. This sound turns for a tighter, more groove emphasized lo-fi with shorter track lengths. While there is a persistent sound throughout, it's the way that sound unfolds throughout the album that makes for a completely amusing listen from start to finish, and grants Unknown Mortal Orchestra high replay value when all is said and done.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2011


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A couple of cuts from the album

Thought Ballune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOlf7887VXs&feature=related
FFunny FFriends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohSpsB_O_bI&feature=related
How Can U Luv Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DwfeiXSstc

patrickfannon
June 25th 2011


886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I am really taken aback by this record. It's so surreal and yet, somehow strangely familar. Great review, by the way. Hope more people catch on to this band soon. Cheers.

psykonaut
June 25th 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

tried to add this to the database when it came out but it wouldn't let me. this is pretty good

patrickfannon
June 26th 2011


886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You checked my mate on this rating sway, psyko! I had it up to a 4.2! Hahaha, well, I guess it all equals out in the end. This record is definitely better in an altered state of mind. Sooooo trippy and cool. I'm really digging this and WU LYF right now.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
June 26th 2011


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This easily tops WU LYF, none of that incoherent yelling I can't get around.

deepintheorchard
June 26th 2011


644 Comments


These guys are completely different live. I saw them with Portugal. The Man and the lo-fi element is almost gone, they're much louder, and actually interesting. This album is so boring to me.

deepintheorchard
June 26th 2011


644 Comments


These guys are completely different live. I saw them with Portugal. The Man and the lo-fi element is almost gone, they're much louder, and actually interesting. This album is so boring to me.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
June 26th 2011


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"the lo-fi element is almost gone."

Nope.

North0House2
June 26th 2011


5878 Comments


Gotta love lo-fi... As long as it's done right. Maybe I'll check this out. Been listening to a lot of Alcest as of late, so I don't know if I'll ever get around to it. We'll see.

Digging: Ef - Ceremonies

76TVs
June 27th 2011


161 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Good stuff on this cd. Love the 60's feel of it.

kfresha
June 28th 2011


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just head How Can U Love Me. Must check out the rest of this album!

patrickfannon
June 28th 2011


886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This album gets better and better with every spin. The little riff in "Thought Ballune" makes me smile every time. Toronado, this easily tops WU LYF. I'm thinking of dropping that down to a 4, as its appeal has diminished a bit for me. Also, I'm surprised this only has five votes.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2011


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Indeed it does. I listened to it 10 times around the day I reviewed it, couldn't get enough of it. 'Little Blu House' is still my favorite, love those vocals.

HBFS
July 12th 2011


1271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gonna listen to this

Digging: The Smith Street Band - Throw Me in the River

randle
July 20th 2011


56 Comments


this shit is tight as fuck

fromtheinside
August 11th 2011


18811 Comments


yes. yes. yes. this is just what i've been waiting for

Digging: Psicosis - The Crippled Machine That Moves the World

Kiran
Emeritus
August 26th 2011


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so god damn groovy

Digging: Danny Brown - XXX

Eskate87
September 1st 2011


959 Comments


this is legit as fuck. groooooovyyy.

patrickfannon
September 19th 2011


886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ffucking amazing, ffor real.

struth
October 5th 2011


435 Comments


ffucking awesome



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