BY KIERAN TEMPLE
Unknown Mortal Orchestra // II
Unknown Mortal Orchestra are a psychedelic rock band hailing from Oregon and New Zealand. Like the initially unknown track 'Ffunny Frfiends' released by lead singer Ruben Nielson in 2010 their new album 'II' is equally mysterious. Set to release on February 5th, their sophomore album doesn't disappoint.
'Swim And Sleep (Like A Shark)' is the first single off the album, a track most fans should be familiar after being released in 2012. While setting the tone for the majority of the album I find it to be one of the stand out tracks. Those who enjoyed ‘Swim And Sleep’ when it came out will probably rate 'II' highly.
The album begins with 'From The Sun', with pleasant arpeggios, catchy vocals and one of the nicest outros 'II' has to offer; it makes for a relevant opening track.
While the album can seem slightly repetitive at times, the instrumental breaks and unique nature of said instruments keeps it fresh and enjoyable. The vocals on 'The Opposite Of Afternoon' sounds reminiscent of The Beatles, which would fill some of the older listeners with nostalgia but soon becomes It's own with a refreshing edge through the modern accompaniment, making it a truly enjoyable listen.
Though my personal favourite on the album, that has been almost constantly filling my house is 'Faded In The Morning'. The first five seconds of the intro gave me the impression the track was going to be god-awful but almost instantly brought the album home. The delayed guitar fills throughout reminded me of the glory that is Jimmy Page's work on 'Dazed And Confused', which truly is a testament to the tracks quality among psychedelic music.
The album finishes with 'Secret Xtians', a short and sweet way to conclude the album. One of the catchiest songs on 'II' and one of my favourites.
While their sounds are miles apart, I can't help but think of Black Mountain. Both bands share the ability to incorporate old-school psychedelia with new age technology and unique songs, trailblazing modern psychedelic music instead of repeating the past.
'II' is sure to be In a lot of indie rock fan's top ten albums of the year despite it's early release. I'm positive you'll see Unknown Mortal Orchestra playing a lot of your favourite festivals this summer and I'd recommend you make a point of seeing them if possible. Truly a refreshing band.