Sex & Food
There aren’t too many music acts that positively improve album on album. Usually a musician’s put-out is like an up and down rollercoaster affair or, worse, the complete reverse – steadily becoming less significant with each release.
Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra is one such outfit though. From 2011’s eponymous full-length, through 2012’s II and 2015’s smash Multi-Love, UMO have improved on each count, and enriched Nielson’s reputation exponentially.
Sex & Food is the peculiarly titled fourth album and – as already alluded to – improves again on previous records and appears to all but guarantee UMO’s spot at pop music’s top table.
While the Prince-like softly-softly sways of Multi-Love remain, the real key advance with Sex & Food is the inclusion of genuine bombast and real bite. Take lead single ‘American Guilt’, an absolutely savage slice of scuzz rock. Unexpected and truly exemplary.
While Nielson did reveal in the lead-up to release that he “wanted to embrace this abandoned genre of rock music that I keep reading is ‘dead’”, this isn’t to say that Sex & Food is a literal hair-down rock-out here. The key is Nielson’s interpretation of the genre in the UMO mind.
And the ‘genre’ sure is eclectic. From the turgid psychedelia moments, there is certainly plenty of the atypical UMO here too, with the Daft Punk sounding ‘Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays’. Not to mention other standout track ‘We’re Not In Love We’re Just High’, a track Nielson describes as his attempt to write an Adele piano ballad.
1. A God Called Hubris
2. Major League Chemicals
3. Ministry of Alienation
5. Chronos Feasts On His Children
6. American Guilt
7. The Internet Of Love (That Way)
8. Everybody Acts Crazy
9. This Doomsday
10. How Many Zeros
11. Not In Love We’re Just High
12. If You’re Going To Break Yourself
Released: April 2018
Cat: JAG322 / Jagjaguwar