Sunday, 14 August 2011

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Album: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Release Date: 17/6/2011

2011's most DIY album comes in swirling pints of psych, funk and garage- rock fun

Since the emergence of the chillwave scene, becoming a bedroom- based pop artist/ producer has been all the more cooler. Even though it's been the ethic of artists like Ariel Pink since the early '90s, artists like Washed Out and Memory Tapes have bought its home- made charm to the 21st century forefront.

New Zealander Ruben Neilson's new project Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a bit of a contradiction, but in the most artful way possible. Each of the nine tracks on his self- titled debut hangs heavy with the lo- fi thug and blissful haze typical of bedroom pop, but yet the music itself harks back to a much more organic time. "How Can U Love Me?" is a deliciously minimalistic slice of white- boy funk, given a futuristic twist by its foggy but not dense production. "Nerve Damage!" starts off in a whirl of loops before plummeting into a raucous, riotous desert rocker on which Neilson lowers his voice a la Captain Beefheart circa "Safe As Milk" to a backdrop of jangly Black Lips- esque guitars. "Little Blue House" is a throwback to '70s British stoner- rock, whilst "Strangers are Strange" is borrowed from all of the more funky moments of David Bowie's back catalogue.

Sometimes the music lets the side down; Opener "Ffunny Ffrends" is persistently annoying, as is the ridiculously titled "Jello and Juggernaut." However Neilson has proved that by taking influence from the past and making it into something that is entirely your own leads to ultimately fresher sound. It's a lesson that a lot of bands would do well to learn.

Download: 1) How Can U Love Me?, 2) Nerve Damage!
For Fans of: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band


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