On the eve of the release of their highly anticipated fourth studio album (Sex & Food released Friday April 6 on Jagjaguwar/Rhythmethod), UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA announce their return to New Zealand for a four date tour this Spring. Bringing the road-tested Sex & Food with them, the route will see the group visit four of the major cities of New Zealand; Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland, performing in some of the country’s most iconic venues.
Where are we headed? What are we consuming, how is it affecting us, and why does everything feel so bad and weird sometimes? These are some of the questions posed on Ruban Nielson’s fourth album as Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sex & Food—a delightfully shapeshifting album that filters these real-deal serious themes through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum-machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock, and pink-hued psychedelic disco. Recorded in a variety of locales from Seoul and Hanoi to Reykjavik, Mexico City, and Auckland, Sex & Food is a practical musical travelogue.
Over the last decade, Nielson’s established himself as one of the most inventive sonic travellers currently working, and Sex & Food is the most eclectic and expansive Unknown Mortal Orchestra release yet. The adventurousness is all the more impressive considering that there’s a bit of DNA from the past UMO discography in Sex & Food: the soft-focus psych of the project’s 2011 debut LP, the lovely melancholia of 2013’s II, and the weirded-out funk of 2015’s virtuosic Multi-Love.
Make no mistake: Sex & Food reaffirms the vitality of Ruban’s voice in today’s musical landscape, and when it comes to navigating the strange and often discouraging pathways our society’s taken, it makes for a damn fine compass, too.
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