Delving into polyamory and hedonistic pleasure-seeking on 2015’s ‘Multi-Love’, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have always specialised in a unique take on dark, extra-terrestrial funk. In case you hadn’t gathered from the title, latest effort ‘Sex & Food’ is just as focused on life’s more, ahem, carnal pursuits in life, but this time seeks out, in the words of Ruban Nielson, “positivity despite the strangeness of our times.”
Crafting unwieldy and low-key pop songs from a bizarre mixture of psych, blues, and glam rock, the stand-outs arrive in the shape of ‘Hunnybee’ - a slab of parping, warped lift-jazz - and the yowling, razor-edged ‘American Guilt’. This more paired-back approach isn’t always successful, mind: certain parts of ‘Sex & Food’ - a bit like inviting whipped cream into the bedroom - seem like a really good idea at the start, but turn into a bit of a sloppy mess along the way.
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On 2015’s ‘Multi-Love’, Ruban Nielson saw his personal life laid out and analysed. Now, on fourth LP ‘Sex & Food’, he’s trying to keep it “dumb”. Or his version of dumb, at least.