Like a lot of people, my first exposure to Unknown Mortal Orchestra was through their insatiably jangly first single Ffunny Ffriends. At that time, no one knew anything about the band (is it even a band or just a single guy?) or where they came from. All we know, we glean from a bandcamp page, some psychedelically fuzzy tunes that wouldn’t seem out of place from the Elephant 6 collective and the UMO name.
We did eventually find things out. UMO started as the bedroom project for New Zealand via Portlandia resident Ruban Nielson which eventually evolved into a trio. Their 2011 self-titled debut album was one of those criminally underrated record that deserved more press.
Well, Unknown Mortal Orchestra are back for a second go-around. Their sophomore record, appropriately titled II, revels in the same surrealist haze that surrounded the first album. What’s new is the added elements of soul and funk that permeates the haze. It’s a bit warmer, a bit smoother – stirring the opiate laden smoke of the songs.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra will be playing in St Louis along with fellow day-trippers Foxygen on 3/9 at the Firebird (tickets here)
Stream the sunny first single Swim And Sleep (Like a Shark) embedded below.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II comes out 2/5 via Jagjaguwar (order here)