Unknown Mortal Orchestra promise “cartoonish portraits” for album #2

New Zealand via Portland outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra will release their second album, the unimaginatively titled II, in February next year.

The Portland-based three-piece band was formed by Ruban Nielson of New Zealand punks The Mint Chicks, but the soothing psychedelic sounds of their debut self-titled album – you probably heard the single ‘Ffunny Friends’ shambling along last year – were a million miles away from the one-two wham-bam that The Mint Chicks specialised in.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra released that debut on Fat Possum Records, but have now signed to Jagjaguwar for the release of II. Jagjaguwar have provided a home for the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Bon Iver, Dinosaur Jr. and Besnard Lakes. If the first single ‘Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)’ is any indication, they’re sounding even more subdued and untroubled this time out.

It certainly doesn’t sound like a song that was written during a hectic touring schedule, but that’s apparently the milieu this new album comes from, having been composed while Unknown Mortal Orchestra were on the road throughout the US with Grizzly Bear and Liars. The album is said to illustrate “the emotional turmoil of life on the road, painting surrealist, cartoonish portraits of loneliness, love and despair”.

Listen to ‘Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)’ below and try not to get too creeped out by the baby staring at you and doing the Andrew W.K. impression.