90FM Album Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra-"II"
Mitchell Sluzewski
Mitchell.j.sluzewski@uwsp.edu






 
 
Sounding like a blast from the past, Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a band that is able to channel the sounds of 60’s and 70’s psychedelia into the modern music scene. With members hailing from both America and New Zealand, this lo-fi psychedelic rock band was formed in 2010. II is Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s second full length album and their first under the Jagjaguwar record label, which includes other bands including Bon Iver and Foxygen. Their previous, self-titled album didn’t quite do it for me. They didn’t have a real drummer but used an electronic beat maker that didn’t fit the style. For this album that changed and with it they were able to have a more responsive rhythm which definitely shows. They have such a smooth and laid back style mixed with a rhythm that I can only describe as "groovy". The unusual sounds they use are put into the songs subtly that they don’t sound out of place at all. The guitarist Ruban Nelson’s playing just adds to the quality of the band with his clean riffs and his ability to mix prog like sounds with funk and classic rock.

This album isn’t lacking for singles and most tracks could easily see radio play. "Swim and Sleep" is a neat little song that brings the slightly ethereal style of Simon and Garfunkel but doesn’t bog down in itself.

The progressive guitar licks as well as the pulse keeps a sense of purpose to the song. "So Good At Being In Trouble" shows off the rhythm section of the band, has solid lyrics even if the chorus does wear a bit by the end. "One At a Time" is funky and awesome. "The Opposite of Afternoon" could have easily been a Beatles song with its sound quality, especially in their cool vocal harmonies. Overall it’s a very solid album, and well beyond worth checking out!