Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & Food

Unknown Mortal Orchestra return with a smorgasbord of an album: one to be indulged, and one to be savoured

Album Review by Finbarr Bermingham | 03 Apr 2018
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & Food
Album title: Sex & Food
Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Label: Jagjaguwar
Release date: 6 Apr

As the albums have progressed, you’ve had to dig for the joys of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Ruban Nielson's increasing penchant for studio wizardry have led to records that are loaded with ideas, often buried deep within the layers of instrumentation and production.

To the inattentive, Sex & Food may feel like watching a movie out the window of a speeding car. This is UMO’s most dense effort to date, and ideas whizz past – blink and you’ll miss a fleeting, high-pitched guitar solo (as with the one strapped onto the end of the brilliant Hunnybee, or a Pynchon turn of phrase (Ministry of Alienation). It requires time and space. It’s jam-packed, but it’s equally rewarding – an album that continues to reveal new parts of itself with each new listen.

Mind-bending opening track Major League Chemicals channels Prince, channelling Frank Zappa, synthesised and filtered beyond recognition. Chronos Feasts on His Children would have sufficed as a mid-weight acoustic track, but instead the layered vocals and gallons of reverb elevate it to something beyond what most artists would have conceived. The rampant fuzzy riffs on American Guilt are deafening and show a heavier side to the shapeshifting Nielson. This is a smorgasbord of an album: one to be indulged, and one to be savoured.

Listen to: Hunnybe, Major League Chemicals