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Unknown Mortal Orchestra : II

Despite resisting the temptation to clean up the more lo-fi aspects of their sound, New Zealand/ Portland trio Unknown Mortal Orchestra have sensibly identified their strengths and, on their second album – and Jagjaguwar debut – II, play to them beautifully. Led by former Mint Chicks frontman Ruban Nielson, the group have an uncanny knack for instantly addictive hooks and irresistable grooves and on tracks like “Swim And Sleep (Like A Shark)”, below, and “So Good At Being In Trouble” they strike gold right from the off and then hit repeat, spinning each riff and melody into hypnotic, psychedelic jams. If – like me – you’re the kind of sad case that keeps a rolling “albums of the year” list, II will doubtless be one that starts off high and spends the next eleven months vying for the top spot; more varied than its predecessor, with garage-y nuggets that nod to Nielson’s punk past rubbing shoulders with soulful slow-burners and motorik Krautrockers, it’s a huge step up that still feels effortless. You can stream the album in full ahead of its February 5 release over at NPR.

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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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