Unknown Mortal Orchestra Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Kiwi transplant Ruban Nielson didn't waste any time trying to bring the psychedelic symphony he had controlling his every thought to fruition. After moving to Portland from New Zealand, his band (the Mint Chicks) dissolved and he immediately plunged into what would become Unknown Mortal Orchestra in late 2010. Expanding to a trio, Nielson put together a debut album in record time and following a tour with Smith Westerns, UMO were scooped up by Fat Possum. The timeline might seem rushed, but this sense of urgency translates well to such delightfully dilapidated music. The selection of faded melodies, murky samples, flippant drums and shoestring production give the album a vintage quality, as if dug out of some crate by a lucky collector in a dusty basement. In fact, this could easily be an instrumental record and it would still retain its unyielding sense of adventure, thanks to the rollercoaster turns it takes. But Nielson's idiosyncrasies as a vocalist are a precious commodity, channelling Curtis Mayfield's falsetto over a scrambled groove on "How Can U Luv Me," a romantic crooner on the buoyant droning of "Ffunny Ffrends" and a demonic punker on the dementedly surf-tinged "Nerve Damage!" Unknown Mortal Orchestra might come across as a ramshackle mishmash, but it's a compelling one that gets weirder and more wonderful each time you hear it. (Fat Possum)