Wednesday 13 February 2013

Swinging Trip On Planet Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The first self-titled Unknown Mortal Orchestra album flew below my radar, but the second one II hit me hard. I love their mix of psychedelica and long jams. That album is receiving raving reviews and is even creating somewhat of a hype. I was just in time to get my ticket for Paradiso, since it eventually sold out a few days before the show.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Paradiso, February 7 2013

And so it's a full house in the small hall of the venue when the band takes the stage. They treat us to a trip that lasts just over an hour. It includes many great songs of their new album but also plenty of the first one. I really like the trio line-up of bands like this, since they can give each other so much freedom. Bass player Jake Portrait is playing great grooving bass lines, plucking his bass in a relaxed way throughout. Combined with Riley Geare's swinging drumming the songs get an irresistible drive. And it also lays down a solid base for singer and guitar player Ruban Nielson to put his freaky vocals and riffs on top of.

His voice does sound very thin though, even more than on the album. He's singing very high most of the time, but it doesn't really sound as a falsetto. I can imagine that it may not be appealing to everyone and I sure have to get used to the squeaky voice. But it's never annoying or in the way. What he lacks in singing he makes up on guitar playing, treating us to fuzzy solos and psychedelic riffs. From time to time it seems as if they are just jamming, tripping to their own tunes.

I have the feeling this is just the start for this band and there's a lot of room for them to grow. Playing many shows will definitely help them here and I hope to see them this summer on some festivals.

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