June 2015 National Music Reviews

Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love
Jagjaguwar
Street: 05.26
Unknown Mortal Orchestra = Tame Impala / Toro Y Moi

Multi-Love is an exercise in psychedelic soul. I can’t help but hear Aretha Franklin’s “I Say A Little Prayer” when I listen to the title track’s melody, although it never quite takes off. UMO’s previous album hinted at these soulful possibilities with numbers like “So Good at Being in Trouble,” but it also frontloaded the band’s trademark guitars that wander like Deadheads in a mystical valley – see “Monki.” Multi-Love is a more directional affair with traditional verse-chorus patterns that serve to highlight frontman Ruban Neilson’s voice rather than UMO’s guitars. Often times the result lacks energy. Aside from Neilson’s voice, UMO’s guitar playing also gives way to wonky instrumentals like the underwater horn solo on “Stage or Screen.” Multi-Love should be praised for its creative attempts and lyrical focus on a world that’s lost control to the devices around it, but whether UMO’s music should retain more control is questionable. –Justin Gallegos

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