After the fervent blog hype surrounding the originally un-credited Bandcamp track posted in the spring of 2010, Unknown Mortal Orchestra made their way from New Zealand to the indie rock mecca of Portland, Oregon and achieved solid success. Their second album, aptly titled II,is being released on Jagjaguwar and the band shows off some musical evolution in its sly psych-rock skronk. An amalgamation of dusty, garage-rock production, cozy, “as if” sampled grooves, falsetto vocals and opaque funk nudge the band forward.
First single “So Good at Being in Trouble” is a winner, a slice of washed out white boy R & B that plays like a hipster Booker T and the MGs: lots of slacker swing. “I’m so good at being in trouble/so bad at being in love”. Those lo-fi production qualities create an “under water” sonic wash that flavors the entire album and this murky mood works by feeling foggy and warm instead of weirdly quirky. UMO’s rather straightforward approach (short songs, tightly constructed) succeeds as they manage to achieve a form of psychedlia less with loud guitar feedback or long-winded jamming and more via texture and ambiance. “One at a Time” pulses with a shifty psych funk as axe-man Robin Neilson shines throughout. Fresh and nimble guitar figures are tightly wound near direct, round bass lines and catlike grooves. II is an eccentric plunge into garage rock.