"Where are we headed? What are we consuming, how is it affecting us, and why does everything feel so bad and weird sometimes?" Sex & Food represents an intensely nomadic period for UMO, documenting founding member and principal songwriter Ruban Nielson’s travels that saw him jetsetting between Mexico City, Seoul, Hanoi, Reykjavik, his native Auckland and more. The name Unknown Mortal Orchestra is basically a joke at this point, as the "band" strictly revolves around Nielson. He’s still calling the shots, but Sex & Food (the 2 best things about traveling, no?) is far from a solo effort; with various local musicians from each of the foreign locales laying down parts for the record before stamping Nielson’s passport and sending him off to his next destination. From the label: ‘Sex & Food is the most eclectic and expansive Unknown Mortal Orchestra release yet, from the light-footed R&B of "Hunnybee" to the stomping flange of "Major League Chemicals." "If You’re Going to Break Yourself" and "Not in Love We're Just High" chronicle the effects of drugs and addiction on personal relationships, while the lyrics "Ministry of Alienation" drip with modern-day paranoia like the silvery guitar tones that jewel the song's structure. The modern world, and all the thorny complications that come with living in it, loomed large on Ruban's mind while making Sex & Food. Though he's not afraid to get topical throughout, as evidenced on the surprisingly boisterous "American Guilt" or the roomy-disco medication-meditation "Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays.”’
- printed insert
- music label: Jagjaguwar 2018
reviewed by frau farbissina 02/2018
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