Album Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, ‘Multi-Love’

(Crossposted from Rolling Stone, 7/24/2015)

Psychedelic crew mourns the end of a three-way love story

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s music has often explored feelings of dizzying isolation, but on their third LP, New Zealand-born frontman Ruban Nielson embraces the power of three. Taking cues from the bubbly soul of Stevie Wonder and the melodrama of the Tijuana Brass, Nielson offers lo-fi musings on a polyamorous relationship that ended when his lover was forced out by a woeful immigration policy. All the psychedelic cool in the world can’t hide his ire: “America, open up your doors/Is it right to always fight against the other?” he pleads on “Puzzles.” Just as in his personal life, Multi-Love sees Nielson coloring outside the lines for a vibrant vision of connection. (3.5/5)

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