Unknown Mortal Orchestra
II


3.5
great

Review

by Kiran EMERITUS
January 24th, 2013 | 60 replies


Release Date: 02/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Semi-Kiwi psych-pop connoisseurs hit a groove and never look back.

It’s not a comparison that bears too much sonic relevance but if Tame Impala are the current torchbearers of widely-appreciated psychedelia – wailing falsetto, a pedal board like a stamp collection, and production fireworks – Unknown Mortal Orchestra are their unglamorous equals; stubbornly unshowy but surprisingly talented, that rare breed that seem to pluck melodies out of thin air but leave you hard-pressed for a guitar solo. They made waves with their self-titled debut and its earworm of the century highlight, “Ffunny Ffrends”, only to follow that masterstroke of fuzz-soaked abandon with the impossibly catchy, Adult Swim commissioned “I’ll Come Back 4 U”. If you measured hooks in calories, these men were pushing morbid.

“So Good At Being In Trouble” might be the track that extends that run of soulful, measured brilliance, but unlike those two others, it sways and lingers rather than dazzles. Temperance most characterizes UMO’s songwriting and the sparse, r&b inspired chorus comes and goes to little fanfare apart from, perhaps, an unspoken testament to the idea that a strong melody goes a long way. That sort of calculated pop experimentalism runs through the spine of II, unleashing moments like the Beatles-esque opener “From The Sun” (“If you need to / you can get away from the sun”, Ruben Nielson sings, having heeded St. George’s tale of its coming), while continuing to push on in their quest for murky, psychedelic treasure with tracks like the rollicking guitar-jam “No Need For A Leader”.

It's a record truly adorned by its minimalism, and simplicity is what glues the shards of lo-fi crackle into largely subdued psych-pop accomplishments. As closer, “Secret Xtians”, strums gently towards the final fade out, it’s clear that what dynamism the band lost from their debut was replaced by typically sophomoric poise, seen in the kind of fearlessness that produced the 7-minute long “Monki”, a track that shimmers and croons but never allows itself a frill beyond necessity. It's interesting to see a band capable of so many twists settle so assuredly into a sound as comfortable and warm as much of II and it's a better record for that relationship; the lack of urgency brings II to a constant simmer, and sometimes that's all you need.



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user ratings (116)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Kiran
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/20/169452103/first-listen-unknown-mortal-orchestra-ii

pretty great

zxlkho
January 24th 2013


3465 Comments


I really liked this album. Much more interesting than Tame Impala imo

zxlkho
January 24th 2013


3465 Comments


they were mentioned in the first fucking sentence of this review

zxlkho
January 24th 2013


3465 Comments


yes I'm crying so hard right now. you hurt me right in my feels man.

zxlkho
January 24th 2013


3465 Comments


damn bro that's a little too harsh

zxlkho
January 24th 2013


3465 Comments


you're face bears a sonic relevance

Kiran
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i fucking love ffunny ffrends, such a great track

the jam of all jams

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2013


7307 Comments


HI KIRAN!!!

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

Calc
January 24th 2013


12212 Comments


was wondering when someone would review this.

Digging: Milo - A Toothpaste Suburb

Ponton
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


5793 Comments


i just had a kirgasm

CaptainDooRight
January 24th 2013


29421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album art rulez

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III ? Saturnian Poetry

Kiran
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hi guys!

robin
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


4249 Comments


intrigued < 3

Kiran
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

when did you become emeritus?!

Anthracks
January 24th 2013


3744 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

simplicity at its finest

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

robin
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


4249 Comments


i wanted to be more like my buddy kiran okay kiran

Kiran
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8kah02eQIE

YankeeDudel
January 24th 2013


9313 Comments


band is iight

Digging: Coroner - Mental Vortex

Anthracks
January 24th 2013


3744 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i supported these guys when they were in their mother's wombs so don't even try to take credit silentpotatard

Kiran
Emeritus
January 24th 2013


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ever hear ruben nielson's former band?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emLadb7qjJc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT-QiClpJKU



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