Reviews in 200 Words

Unknown Mortal Orchestra by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

In Album, podcast on August 24, 2011 at 9:04 am

They are like trolls who’ve come from a subterranean layer, bringing with them their primitive sound. They use ancient amplifiers and guitars made from tree branches. They beat the drums with femurs. They’ve never changed their catgut strings. This is an old sound – a fuzzy sound conjured by many but rarely done with such self-awareness. This is not wry or arch. The sound is at one moment pure 60s psych rock. But there are Middle Eastern elements too – trances, circular rhythms. Try listening to “Thought Ballune” without getting dizzy. They are spinning some kind of magic – the kind of magic that makes anxious parents think playing it backwards might reveal Satanic messages. “Will my mommy tell me why?” Playing it forward isn’t bad enough? The grooves are thick here – maybe too thick for mom and dad. Or maybe it’s perfect for the oldsters? Maybe it’s exactly what mom and dad (or, at this point in history, grandma and grandpa) want? If anything it’s honest. It feels honest, and it never seems cribbed. For a young three piece putting out their debut, that’s reason enough to listen.

-Jay Cullis

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