umo

Since 2010, Ruban Nielson’s career has been in perpetual forward motion. ‘Unknown Mortal Orchestra’ – his debut – was a minor lo-fi classic, its woolly guitars, thick-cut bass and vocal distortions deftly crosscutting psych and indie rock, while follow-up, ‘II’, gave his rougher edges a polish and drew attention to Nielson’s propensity for lyrical despair. ‘Multi-Love’ shuns themes of misery and isolation in favour of the bittersweet nature of togetherness, while embracing the rich strain of funk and R&B that has always simmered beneath UMO’s work.

At its best it retains Nielson’s unique aesthetic brilliance, but colours in the borders with shades of The Delfonics (‘Like Acid Rain’), Sly And The Family Stone (‘Stage Or Screen’), Prince (Ur Life One Night) and Maggot Brain-era Funkadelic (‘Necessary Evil’, ‘Puzzles’). The result is an LP that draws from the past but never feels derivative – a complex, kaleidoscopic, warm and downright sexy joyride, which is tough not to consider as his best album to date.

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