Pasa Tem­pos

Mu­sic by the Un­known Mor­tal Or­ches­tra and Twin Dan­ger

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - — Robert Ker

Multi-Love (Jag­jaguwar) Ever since the Un­known Mor­tal Or­ches­tra first made waves with the in­ter­net hit “Ffunny Ffrends,” the band — mostly the brain­child of New Zealand-born Ruban Niel­son (now a res­i­dent of Port­land, Ore­gon) — has carved out a unique sound. Us­ing that song as a blue­print for fu­ture suc­cess, the group has put to­gether bits of psy­che­delic, hand­crafted pop, all heav­ily com­pressed so the drums sound tinny and Niel­son sounds like he’s singing through his teeth and a mouth full of braces. For­tu­nately, he’s got a strong voice, and it’s in evoca­tive form here, as the band frac­tures the sounds and feel­ings of Mo­town and 1970s soul mu­sic, and Neil­son uses them as tools to re­veal the emo­tional de­tails of his polyamorous re­la­tion­ship with his wife and another woman. The al­bum opens with the ti­tle track, which of­fers the lay of that land: “Multi-love got me on my knee/We were one then be­come three/Mama, what have you done to poor me.” Bas­sand or­gan-driven funk bub­bles up in that song and through­out the pro­ceed­ings, giv­ing al­most ev­ery­thing a dance­able swing. The band em­ploys a doo-wop shuf­fle on “The World Is Crowded,” while al­bum high­light “I Can’t Keep Check­ing My Phone” is a flashy bit of rat­tling disco. The group’s record­ing style can sound slightly monochro­matic across a whole al­bum, but the song­writ­ing cov­ers a lot of ground. This al­bum is a leap for­ward for Un­known Mor­tal Or­ches­tra.

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