Unknown Mortal Orchestra brings lo-fi “Multi-Love” to Republic

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra released its most recent album “Multi-Love” last May. 

At 9 p.m. tonight, psych-rock trailblazer Unknown Mortal Orchestra will ignite the Republic along with opening act Lower Dens. With the 2015 album “Multi-Love” under its belt, the group will return to New Orleans for its third performance in the crescent city.

Front man and New Zealand-native Ruban Nielson formerly played in punk band The Mint Chicks along with his brother. After the project fell apart, he put aside his musical aspirations and relocated with his family to Portland. In 2010 Nielson made an innocuous upload of a lo-fi recording titled “Ffunny Ffriends” to BandCamp that prompted major labels to reach out to him.

Nielson took a second shot at music when Unknown Mortal Orchestra released its self-titled debut album in June 2011 on Fat Possum record label. With bassist Jake Portrait, keyboardist Quincy McCrary and drummer Riley Geare, the band started aggressively touring. It didn’t take long for the lo-fi synth-filled album to catch the attention of music critics and fans around the world. In 2013, the group’s chilled-out, reflective second album “II” helped the band continue to grow its fan base.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest album, “Multi-Love,” was inspired by the serendipitous relationship Nielson and his wife took up with another woman. In the title track Nielson overtly lays out: “we were one, then became three,” and moreover that “it’s not that this song’s about her/all songs are about her.” While Nielson’s lyrics generally stick to the heart-wrenching topic of his deeply confusing love story, his vocals are noticeably clearer than those of past records. The album’s subtle echoes, funky synths and horn contributions of Neilson’s father are reminiscent of R&B and jam band vibes.

“Multi-Love” has enriched Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s progressively eclectic discography, and will undoubtedly be a killer live show. After the band had to unexpectedly cancel its performance on the Lavin-Bernick Center Quad last spring, students have a second chance to experience the band’s creative sound.

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