Unknown Mortal Orchestra(photo: Neil Krug)

Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s fourth studio LP Sex & Food is out now on Jagjaguwar, and finds Ruban Nielson expanding his songwriting range even further beyond the fuzz-funk psych-rock of the band’s self-titled 2011 debut, 2013’s II, and 2015’s Multi-Love.

I was a bit put off by the album title at first, but Sex & Food delivers the goods. Although his latest effort explores some heavy themes, Ruban Neilson chooses to keep the tone relatively light. With modernist lyrical quips like “Freud auto-correction” and “My thinking is done by your machine,” Nielson cleverly hones in on the glaring absurdities of late capitalism and Wwestern culture. To keep things interesting, he incorporates a variety of genres, from alternative to R&B, into Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s singular brand of nostalgic-meets-modern psychedelia.

Sex & Food is UMO’s most topical album to date, as Neilson uses poetic hyperbole to loosely navigate our pre-apocalyptic political landscape on the loud, crunchy guitar-rock single “American Guilt” and the meditative anxieties of “This Doomsday” and “Ministry of Alienation.” He asks the capitalists of the world, “How many zeroes do you need?”, then looks inward towards his own hazy relationships only to realize that he’s “Not in Love We’re Just High” (listen below) and that “If you’re going break yourself, you’re going to break me.”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is currently on tour with Makeness, who just released their debut album Loud Patterns via Secretly Canadian. I expect UMO is selling plenty of tickets on their Sex & Food tour based off the strength of the album’s two most dance-able tracks, particularly the sweet, stinging strings of “Hunnybee” and the irresistible disco hooks on “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays” (watch below).

Catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Makeness at Oakland’s Fox Theater on May 10, 2018. Head to your local indie record store to snag the limited pink vinyl edition of Sex & Food, or grab the classic black version from Jagjaguwar or the band’s merch table.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Makeness
Fox Theater
May 10, 2018
8pm, $29.50