I love New Zealand and that’s the only reason why I had the pleasure to come in touch with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. This band, consisting of singer, guitarist and songwriter Ruban Nielson, bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare, could be described as a psychedelic rock group. I am not a keen psychedelic rock listener, I’m a Pink Floyd fan, but I don’t if you can call their late work ‘psychedelic’ at all, to be honest I don’t like the stuff Syd Barrett made. If you come up with lyrics like
I know a mouse and he hasn’t got a house. I don’t know why I call him Gerald
then it’s just too much drugs for me.
Can I say that Jethro Tull made psychedelic rock? Because then I would have another band in my psychedelic rock binder, but I think I don’t have a binder who can play flute and stand on one leg.
But to mention some more and some younger psychedelic bands I think I could come up with MGMT or Tame Impala or even Alvin Zealot. That would be all psychedelic bands I know, shame or not.
But now back to II, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s second LP.
It took only eight months for the kiwis to release another full-length album after they came up with their eponymous debut in summer 2011 for which they received a nomination for Best Alternative Album at the New Zealand Music Awards.
II is a sad record (is this typical for psychedelic music, consider Tampe Impala’s Lonerism…) which isn’t really all the way that druggie it’s rather indie-rock but on the highest level of lo-fi. In great songs like From The Sun, Swim Or Sleep or So Good At Being In Trouble, there’s not much psychedelic stuff. The hallucinogenic side turns out to be the last minute of The Opposite Of Afternoon and one-minute-song-without-lyrics Dawn.
Nonetheless the music on II is experimental. For Example on Faded In The Morning is a baby’s laughter or One At A Time disarrays totally I couldn’t follow the song, it was too overbursting for me.
The most critical song No Need For A Leader tends to end in a metaphysical and blurred song with an increased use of synthesizers. The song title assumes an anarchistic slogan, but unfortunately I didn’t get the lyrics, haha.
But the entire album’s constant is solitude. Everywhere is a undoubtely clear reverence to loneliness in any variety.
I’m so lonely I’ve got eat my popcorn all alone.
I can never quite reach the phone.
Or other sad moods are shown up, lost love for instance.
She was so good at being in trouble.
She was so bad at being in love.
Fortunately sadness isn’t omnipresent, my favourite Swim And Sleep is a dreamy utopian song with a catchy tune and it’s very lo-fi with immense acoustic feedback. Simply a nice and childish song.
Finally, there’s one thing left to say. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s second album II is recommendable.