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Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love - review

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love - review

Jul 19, 2015 Music

MultiLoveWhen something’s as baffling as Multi-Love, it must be doing something right — either that, or doing a whole lot wrong.

The third album from the Portland-based group of former Mint Chick Ruban Neilson plays out like the lo-fi soundtrack to a lurid 1970s porn film. It’s a whole lot more indulgent than the songs that made Unknown Mortal Orchestra our most critically lauded export, but more ambitious too, with tempo changes, out-of-context guitar freak-outs and synthesizer madness characteristic of both 1970s progressive rock and jazz-rock fusion.

Turned off yet? Maybe only brave souls will want to investigate this puzzle of a record that, when cracked, opens up to reveal more clues but no real answers. But there’s something compelling about Neilson’s obsessions on a song like “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty”, with its sleazy sax solo and bizarre vocals grunted out like a dirty old sex freak in a back alley.