Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
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.