Hot on the heels of the recent Tame Impala (and Melody's Echo Chamber) albums comes this second effort from Unknown Mortal Orchestra - I guess this means that slacker psyche now almost constitutes a minor trend or wave. What is striking about these groups is that they combine a loose lo-fi homemade stoner sprawl of fuzzed out sound with immaculate pop tunes & hooks - a rare combination last spotted in the days of My Bloody Valentine & shoegaze. Obviously final period Beatles and sandbox era Beach Boys are reference points but the music doesn't really sound like retro psychedelia, instead it sounds very unselfconscious and contemporary - as if the bands are spontaneously channelling whacked out music from all eras, not just late 60s / early 70s. This second Unknown Mortal Orchestra album might be the best of the bunch - superficially slacker and grungy but it's actually rich and disciplined in terms of the song craft and arrangements. The music & lyrics sound so natural, casual & effortless yet it all hangs together, laced with great riffs, vocal hooks and chugging rhythms. It's one of those albums you can put on repeat play for hours on end - and the music then carries on floating around your head for days....
Bought this because I kept hearing 'From the Sun' and 'Swim & Sleep' on 6Music. What a great buy. Reminiscent of early Beach Boys, early Eliot Smith and other great musicians, this album is beautiful and perfect for late night listening and blasting out on a beach somewhere in the sun. Buy it!
This is a fabulous album. I would buy it again and I did, but as a present. I later discovered that the receipient of the present already had a copy, but she was happy to have two, which just shows how good it is.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra's second effort is not a great leap from they rather wonderful first album. It has the fuzziness of that album but is a little more lo-fi in its feel and numbers. It doesn't have the standout feel good of How Can You Love Me that the first album had. But the album as a whole might be stronger. The vocals are light as they were last time and this is ideal for the summer. One At A Time is a brash number which sounds like the 70's again. No Need for A Leader could be off a glam rock album, although somewhat quieter. Secret Xtians (Christians to these ears) finishes off proceedings in great style with light guitar and drums and catchy hooks.
Its probably not going to win new fans. Its probably going to be well liked by the critics. But this is one slice of fuzzy pop that works well, if you play it in the summer heads will bob and questions will be asked...its got that kind of sneaking quality which draws you in and makes you smile. Not bad qualities at all.
This was a present for my sister who kept playing the song 'Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)' on repeat! I heard the song 'So Good At Being In Trouble', which confirmed that this band were definitely more than just one hit wonders! My sis loves the CD, though I've only heard a handful of songs. Would defo recommend this product. :) Have only given it 4/5 as I've not had the chance to hear the full album yet.