UMO is kinda like a lo-fi prince. And I’m talking the gigolo of funk, the true king of the Eighties prince: capital-P Prince.
Record impressions, rambles and ruminations
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The third album is a pain in the ass, an asshole, a bastard. It broke the Mint Chicks and sent Ruben Nielson scurrying to Portland, Oregon to cache himself in graphic design and commercial art. However, the foxhole he ended up in was a basement studio filled with all the gadgets and toys a growing musician needs.
We may have been too carried away last record not to notice that the now-known Mortal behind the Orchestra didn’t particularly enjoy being high as a kite on a mountainside all the time. Perhaps we forgot why it’s called a daytrip and why we take them. Abnormal days require special cool-down times.
In a sober-state, the Unknown Mortal voice behind the Orchestra would confuse me. He’s flexing Harrison-esque vocal muscles cloaked in studio effects, as if trying hide what is so painfully obvious: the mind-flaying musical alphabet starts with a B-Eatles and the drugs make you see shit, hear shit, believe shit.
Just how visceral is rock ‘n’ roll meant to be?
Mouth breathes in again, having forgotten, as we all do sometimes, that something which is so important. Essential. And with each breath? A pulse, an om, a bass, Ament. Vedder accompanies:
Remembering the first time the heart skipped a beat may pose a challenge. But remembering the first time the xx induced my heart to swallow itself whole? Not a damn problem.
With The Spark everything changes. Each time I feel like I have listened to a band who grew up in the same area as me. The same stomping grounds as I. Over 12 tracks, Sol Seed dials me into my Oregon roots and the many musical experiences of my life.
The band sounds gracious yet geared from the get-go, crafting a band anthem in “Family Tree” replete with reggaetón, record scratches and some swaggering horns. This is the band’s “Bad Company,” a title track resonating with more happiness and horns than Bad Company.
But from first listening to Sol Seed’s Grown Deep, it was easy to see the name of the game in reggae involves the exposure of real life social situations in popular musical format. It’s like hip-hop with melody.