Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Never Heard Of Them

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II

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The Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s second album is not a quiet affair. ‘No Need For A Leader’ is a total Bolan glam-out. ‘Faded In The Morning’ has more than a touch of Physical Graffiti-ness about it. ‘One At A Time’ wears out the wah-wah pedal Hendrix-style. And throughout, there’s a sense that The Black Keys in all their rifftastic finery could be hiding just around the next corner. For some, the fact that they remain out of sight might be a major disappointment. A missed opportunity. A Grammy award-winning band wagon that was just waiting to be jumped on. But no. The opposite. What really works about this album is that even at its loudest moments, there’s a hush, a calm. It’s mainly in Ruban Nielson’s vocals. There’s never any screeching or hollering and they’re pretty much permanently disguised behind some-or-other technical device that brings them down in the mix. And then there are the slower, more laid-back tracks. It’s telling that the opener, ‘From The Sun’, gets things off to a relaxed start. Messrs. Auerbach and Carney would not approve. On ‘So Good At Being in Trouble’ there’s even a Matthew E. White feel to the sound. Sure, UMO come at things from a blues angle, but the skitteryness of the drums and the quietness of the double-tracked vocals generate the same sort of relaxed mood. The Black Keys are a great band, but we don’t need two of them. For their part, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have delivered a great album. We don’t need two of them either. But one will do just fine. Thanks.

Pitchfork review

Consequence of Sound review

Paste Magazine review

Guardian review

Drowned In Sound review

musicOMH review

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