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Album Review

by Unknown Mortal Orchestra


Review Date
12 June 2015
Reviewed by
Rebecca White

Multi-Love is the third full release from Portland-based (via New Zealand) trio (kinda actually a solo project) Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The nine-track offering is a concept album of sorts, built around the recent complicated love affair of frontman Ruban Nielson.

The gist of it is; both Nielson and his wife fell for the same woman, and enjoyed a polyamorous relationship until the much-adored woman in question left them both rather heartbroken. So, not exactly something your everyday Joe can relate to, but the relationship is really only used as a jumping off point as the album explores the dizzying highs and crushing lows of love. Sonically it really sticks to the lo-fi roots UMO have been cementing for the past few years, and truly has a DIY, recorded in a bedroom vibe. That is countered with tracks that steer into an almost bossa-nova feel, with 70s funk overtones. Lyrically, it is songs about love and getting dumped, but wrapped up in a cryptic and vague daydream. Nielson heavily utilises vocal filters and effects, so the lyrics blur into the buzzy sonic landscape with only key words really popping through. This technique means it takes quite a few listens for the idea of the song to transmit.

Multi-Loveis very listenable and manages to make bossa-nova and shoegaze cohesive, it just doesn’t feel overly groundbreaking or arresting. Tracks like ‘Can’t Keep Checking My Phone’ and ‘Stage or Screen’ are the more upbeat type where the lyrics more prevalent, the rest of the songs could easily be the soundtrack to sitting around in the lounge whilst on a variety of narcotics and chatting about how many universes there really are and, like, is time a flat circle??


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