Song of the Day: Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

Local Music, Song of the Day
06/12/2015
Gerrit Feenstra
photo by Bebe Labree Besch

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Multi-Love” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra from the 2015 album Multi-Love on Jagjaguwar.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love (MP3)

Portland's Unknown Mortal Orchestra, led by New Zealand-born Ruban Nielson, offers us some of the best in psychedelic indie rock around not just the Northwest, but anywhere. See them live and you’ll get every track of lo-fi funk and dance turned into a massive party. Listen to their new album and you’ll hear the closeted sounds of their first two records brought to the forefront. With a dazzling new production approach and an ever-perfecting perfectionist approach to songwriting, Nielson and his band continue to wow us with every new go around. Multi-Love is easily the most approachable and invigorating UMO record yet. The record has a phenomenally interesting back story (which you can read over at Pitchfork), and the result is a record that oozes with sensuality and anxiety hand in hand. It’s an entirely relatable and enveloping effort and goes to show that UMO are nowhere near the peak of their creative arc.

“Multi-Love” opens up the record and takes the title track spot. In doing so, it gives the perfect introduction to the record, even while not diving quite as deep into groove terrain as the kaleidoscope of a lead single “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. “Multi-Love’s got me on my knees”, Nielson sings, “We were one, and now we’ve become three”. As the brooding bass and clap groove chugs through the chorus, Nielson seems anxious almost as if speaking to himself throughout. The introduction of a third person to an established relationship is a strange thing to experience. The oneness that two people can find together is upset with oneness is attempted in two directions, and very swiftly, it deteriorates into a triangulated state. Thankfully for us, with the gift of hindsight, Nielson seems to take it in stride, or, at the very least, credit it well into his story as a necessary piece of a larger puzzle. The track is all mystery, and the ideal introduced here is expanded upon over the next 35 minutes. “Multi-Love” functions perfectly as a standalone single and an introduction to the record of the same name. If you haven’t taken the dive yet on this band’s great new record, this is the perfect place to do so.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra were just in town last month. You can read our review of their recent show at Barboza here, but not to worry if you missed them. They'll be back next month performing on Saturday, July 25, at the Capitol Hill Block Party. Until then, you can find more tour dates and music at their website and Facebook page, and watch them perform today's featured song live in the KEXP studio:

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