Album Review

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - V

While ‘V’ has the tendency to revisit some familiar ground, it builds a whole world to roam.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - V
The chemical constitution of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s sound is a potent one - equal parts crunchy drums, twangy psych-guitar and Ruban Nielson’s gloriously husky vocal. It’s a warm fuzzy world which is further traversed across ‘V’, their first proper studio album since 2018’s ‘Sex & Food’. Billed as a double album, the tracklisting is well paced, with instrumental tracks cleansing the atmosphere at regular intervals - ‘The Widow’ is propelled by chugging guitar before splintering into a soul-flecked breakdown that’s rounded off with a sax solo. It’s an album of well-connected multitudes. While also containing some of the outfit’s most wig-out material, it also contains some of their best straight-forward pop songs - ‘That Life’ featuring a sunny guitar lead, ‘Weekend Run’ with its irresistible lyrical hook, and highlight ‘The Beach’ architected by a fantastic tumbling funk-guitar sequence. While occasionally the shared DNA between songs makes it a little hard to orientate yourself, it’s an enjoyable album to get lost in. Nostalgic images of Ruban’s childhood on the road with his parents slip into frame and are well-lit by its warm sonics: “Do you ever look back at me in the rear view?” he asks. While ‘V’ has the tendency to revisit some familiar ground, it achieves what the best double albums do - plants solid gems along the road, envelops the listener with clever sequencing tricks and builds a whole world to roam.

Tags: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Reviews, Album Reviews

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