Unknown Mortal Orchestra turned heads with the viral hit “Ffunny Ffrends,” which came out of nowhere (actually, Bandcamp) before winding up on the Portland band’s 2011 self-titled debut. They’ve gradually had to give up more and more of that online anonymity, but even though sophomore album II is, as main man Ruban Nielson told SPIN, tinged with existential dread, UMO have managed to do so without becoming suffocatingly serious. They put McLovin in the video for soul-simmering standout “So Good at Being in Trouble,” fer crissakes.
Their U.S. TV debut last night on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon was no less endearingly goofy, complete with Nielson chewing gum in between vocals. It was an effective faithful late-night translation of a fuzzy, low-end-heavy song that can sound like an immaculate studio creation. The extra smattering of guitar crescendo at the end didn’t hurt, either.