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Album review: Multi-Love - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Tuesday 26th May 2015

Late last year when I visited ex-Mint Chick and Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) frontperson Ruban Nielson in his basement studio in Portland, Oregon, he said his next UMO album might be the best thing he’d ever done. He was right.

Multi-Love is an album about relationships in all their complex incarnations, and at the heart of this album lay a couple of Nielson’s own. The first is that between him and his brother Kody - reunited here for the first time since their last bust-up in 2012. The other, which the album title directly references, is an autobiographical tale of polyamory with all its maddening, wonderful bones laid bare.

Nielson has never been short of ideas - his first two UMO albums were full of them - but while there were moments within those albums where his ideas felt fully realised, as a whole they left the impression that, had he been given more time, we’d have been given something more complete. This time round Nielson had eight months to work on getting his next album to sound exactly as he’d imagined - and none of that time was squandered. 

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Melody Thomas is the creator of new RNZ sex and sexuality podcast BANG!, sometime-presenter for Music 101, and a writer for various print and online media.
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