Album Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi Love

Multi Love

unknonw-mortal-orchestra-multi-loveReleased 26th May 2015

Words: Lauren Grigor

Unknown Mortal Orchestra deliver their 3rd studio album to an apprehensive audience.
The Kiwi-American collaboration. The album has continuous balance between modern technologies and production while still utilising classic techniques and drawing sonic inspiration from the likes of The Beatles, Prince and Bowie. The theme of the lyrics also seems to reflect the resistance to the future and the uncertainties that come with it, over all, whether the lyrics directly address global issues or implicitly concern relationship and love, the aim of each song is conflict resolution. This idea translates through the range of instruments

The opening and title track Multi Love draws you in straight away, with the signature androgynous vocals and the beginnings of harpsichord style keys and a voice which sounds incredibly close to a string section. The song uses sounds, techniques and instruments old and new, and Like Acid Rain and Ur Life One Night follow along the overarching theme of the album which feels like the best parts of 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s swing, jazz, funk soul and psychedelics.

The album’s second single Can’t Keep Checking My Phone is catchy and groovy and is sort of a hilarious juxtaposition with the modern lyrics against the vintage vibes of the song. I found Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty to be one of the most interesting songs on the album. It evolves as several various instrumentals weave throughout the song. The vocals sound like a whisper at times and are paired with minor chords that are strangely uplifting. The song builds and builds and then almost drops off at the end, with a perfect funk bass line to carry us to the second half of the album

My favourite might be Stage or Screen; it’s fun and catchy and cuts unexpectedly into an instrumental with a key change which almost sounds like the exit music for an old film. The World is Crowded and Necessary Evil remain similar with catchy soul and funk choruses and Puzzles finishes off the album as a 7 minute finale. It kind of leaves me feeling a bit unfinished though. I like the song and the innocent and sweet sentiment but it’s like how sometimes a film will force a sequel when really we wanted resolution.

What I like about the album is the fact that it is weird, the songs are unusual, odd and sometimes musically don’t make a lot of sense. But the whole piece (and at 9 songs, it’s relatively short) is completely cohesive in it’s own jumbled sort of style. The singles are really solid so you can see them attracting a new league of fans to take them to the next level.

I was lucky enough to see them play at Liverpool Sound City and they really knew how to use every instrument in their repertoire to keep the audience engaged.

Watch the video for Multi Love here:

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