This week psych-pop three piece Unknown Mortal Orchestra released their second album II (who’d have thought it was their second album huh?) on Jagjaguwar. If you want to be transported to somewhere a bit more relaxed and sunny than a rainy country struck by a financial depression then look no further. UMO will provide the escapism for you with this bright west coast inspired LP.
The listener is eased in nicely with slow number ‘From the Sun.’ Track two is 6 music favourite ‘Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)’ which is an Ariel Pink type song that oozes sun, beaches and nostalgia.
‘So Good At Being In Trouble’ follows and is in fact my favourite thing that they’ve released. It’s a calming, yet sexy pop track which is the first thing on the album that helps to separate them from similar bands such as Tame Impala. This is not psych-rock, this is psych-pop. The band have a very much on the lighter side with their guitars compared to the aforementioned band.
‘One at a Time’ brings things back up in tempo however whilst also adding a bit of wah.’The Opposite of Afternoon’ is reminiscent of the 60s, not just because the band are clearly using sixties amps (as they have done all the way through) but in terms of the melody itself. ‘No Need For a Leader’ is a little more punk rock in style yet still has that vintage feel to it rather than a trashy one. ’Monki’, despite being long and of a low tempo is a stand out track from the album with its distorted vocals and its array of delayed psychedelic guitar riffs.
‘Faded in the Morning’ feels disconnected from the rest of the LP as it’s slightly heavier yet the melody is a bit too repetitive and there’s not really a chorus so it may well have you reaching for the ‘skip’ button unfortunately. The album ends on a high though as final track ‘Secret Xtians’ is one of the best on the album as it’s a little more stripped down so you can (kind of) work out what the lyrics are whilst the melody is extremely catchy and the whole thing has a wonderful bluesy tone to it.
This album is an extremely pleasant one although nothing totally mind blowing and there are weaker moments on the album but it’s certainly worth a purchase. Let UMO whisk you off to Portland with their sun drenched, nostalgia pysch-pop. Why not eh?
Words: Katie Wilkinson
II is out now on Jagjaguwar.