Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 'Unknown Mortal Orchestra' (Fat Possum)

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Critical Mass
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Label: Fat Possum

by Peter S. Scholtes

Beneath its bubbles of reverb and bashful echoes, this homemade psych-pop breakout from Mint Chicks guitarist Ruban Nielson seems to aim for the spare modernist funk of the Meters — as well as some of their melancholy. The oddly upbeat "How Can U Luv Me" screams for a Prince remake, but Nielson gets a more original sound out of slower, guitar-centered riff-nosis, absorbing jazz and classical like Steely Dan trapped inside Kanye West's "Monster." If Nielson ever puts his scratchy, witchy voice front and center where it belongs, watch out.

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