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Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Brudenell Social Club

3 October 2015
Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Brudenell Social Club
So funky, you wanted to make a face like you were sucking on lemons, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (slightly less orchestral as a four piece) played Leeds favourite The Brudenell Social Club on Tuesday the 29th September as part of their latest UK tour, following Scandinavian New Order-ish support from Jaakko Eino Kalevi. Playing an eclectic mix across all three of their softly psychedelic albums, the sold out room really felt the vibes Ruben and co were serving.

Opening with a newer number ‘Like Acid Rain’, UMO descended into a several minute long guitar solo/wig out, and thus showcased that they aren’t just a studio band. Their tightly composed pieces often unravelled like this, with a later drum solo that resembled the bloody, incessant exercises in Whiplash. Each member is certainly a talent in their own right, and therefore not starved of attention like many an inconspicuous ‘backing band’. While front man Ruben made some bizarre but intriguing theatrical moves, like a few semi-splits and one strangely subdued foray into the crowd, he barely cracks a smile. He is certainly an interesting character, drawing much of this curiosity from the salacious story behind title track Multi Love, which involved himself and his wife falling briefly in love with the same woman. This interest transcends much further though. His husky vocals- with a falsetto range that could be categorised as ‘helium’- and mad shredding skills set him apart. Amongst the general posse that gathered with me on Tuesday night was a friend who was vaguely familiar at best with the band, and ‘wasn’t bored once!’- high praise indeed!

Their latest work - of which they played a fair amount live - has that unique quality of sounding pretty fresh whilst being completely at home with their discography. Their sound combines a satisfying mixture of muted and crunchy trebles over a warm and rippling bass: I could well be describing some kind of chocolate biscuit; I happen to love both. Their gooey riffs and crisp harmonies make it impossible to resist at least a little hip swivel, and for those who didn’t, more fool you. It’s all groovy man….

Emma is a Freelance Writer for Leeds Living. She has a degree in English literature from the University of Leeds and specialises in writing cultural editorials.