‘Whilst some may say that the best of performers possess an unerring ability to whisk the room away, Nielson instead plays as though it, and indeed we, were never there to begin with. He’s a child of the revolution and although Bolan only knows to which he belongs, his interactant aptness consequently leaves a little to be desired. Again, it’s to be expected – their bodies still at loggerheads with crippling “stomach aches and stuff” having played Japan just last weekend, there’s a sense that they’re not quite all there either. Though we don’t exactly abet, and there’s none of that same unhinged hysteria stereotypically expected of the years back to which the ‘Orchestra’s outpour harks. Yes, lyrics are momentarily lost in the ether of unintelligibility, his monitoring of the sporadically groggy sound system is apathetic at best (“It wasn’t too turgid for you, was it?” he at one point quips lethargically), and his insults are as retrograde as some of his less impressive oeuvres (“Hey! Get out, short hair!” being a particularly choice jibe). Though even for EC2, our reaction is woefully muted.’
Posts tagged Ruban Nielson.
‘Just as any which selachian breed has but two default positions (swimming vs. slumber) Nielson is a creature of contrasts in that his body belongs to one epoch and his mind to another, with his songs split similarly between the bedazzling and the bafflingly expendable. And though one and one can combine to construct two, it’s high time these schizoid split essences came together for a consistently synergetic good…’
‘The notion of Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra being impeccable emulators of R&B is one that’s never quite sat right with my ears. Needless to say there’s no doubting the effervescent, and with that consistently excellent output from Nielson et al. over these past few years (whether the Velveteen jangle of Ffunny Ffrends, or the angular jaunt down the soulful slant of How Can U Luv Me, or the snappy pop hooks of Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark) which were recently adroitly recomposed by none other than Little Dragon) though the R&B terminology never quite rang with conviction nor the crystallinity of truth. Nonetheless So Good At Being In Trouble, the second track to be outed from UMO’s forthcoming sophomore, II, recalls the smoky sulk of the genre’s great pioneers and progenitors: musically smoother than Barry White’s backing band and smothered in a honeyed vocal that’s kinda like the cloying, alloyed nectar of Al and Shuggie it’s the ‘Orchestra’s most seductive recording to date and a goddamn auspicious indication of that which is to come early on next month.’
II is expected February 4th via Jagjaguwar.
Whenever anything off Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s eponymous début of yesteryear crops up here (home), there (out), or indeed anywhere my heart flutters a jolty little dad-dance jig. Ffunny Ffrends is, and has been for quite some time, my jam ♫ although this, Ruban Nielson’s first release on Jagjaguwar, runs its eternal predecessor close. Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark) splashes about in the mellow neck pickup melancholy of the old full-length, although it’s this time tie-dyed with a greater songwriting conviction; that to have had now label mate Sharon Van Etten picking up plaudits as a vagrant does shuteye wherever she may vagabond. Dip in above.