Worth a Thousand Words: Sex & Food by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sex & Food by Unknown Mortal Orchestra: A “Major League” Hit Released: April 6, 2018 Label: Jagjaguar
Let me preface all of this first by saying that before this album, and the few choice tracks I’d heard before, I’ve never dove into the catalog that Unknown Mortal Orchestra has under their belt. That being said, their 2018 release Sex & Food is an impressive first impression, in my opinion. Upon listening, I could easily pair it with select tracks from the likes of Temples, or Tame Impala even, specifically ones off their most recent release Currents. Some of the slower tracks on this album could be compared to tracks from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Sketches of Brunswick East, even.
Following a short introductory track, “A God Called Hubris,” the album launches into a funky fit on “Major League Chemicals.” Electronic rock paired with psychedelic waves makes for a great piece the whole way through and gives the impression that if the likes of The Beatles or Jimi Hendrix were transported from back in time to today, they theoretically could’ve come up with a track like this.
We go further down the proverbial psychedelic rabbit hole on “Ministry of Alienation.” It’s got this sitar-sounding, wavy feel to it that I love, which flows lovely into the next track, and one of my favorites, “Hunnybee.” The beginning of the track is a total misdirection; it starts off slow and somber, with string instruments floating around, but then launches into a funky little track. To me, I feel like this song could be a perfect soundtrack for a drive through the mountains; it’s bright, poppy, and sweet, just like springtime. But that’s not to say that this song doesn’t have some complexities to it; a wild little guitar solo about halfway through the track pulls your attention back to focus.
This album has a good balance of high energy, fast-paced songs, such as “Major League Chemicals” or “American Guilt,” but it’s worth noting the quieter tracks too. “Chronos Feasts on His Children” is a quiet, acoustically driven song that very softly comments on the passing of time and our role in the cycle. A direct reference to Greek mythology, Chronos, the god of time, watches over us all, unable to escape his grasp and no one person discriminated against; time affects each one of us and, literally and metaphorically “feasts on his children, like turning mango flesh...”
Finally, one of my last top picks from this album is “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays.” I think I’ve got an affinity for disco-like tracks; I even did a whole show on that subject for my radio show LZ’s Time Machine, which you should check out. Shameless plug aside, this track is a lot of fun. It’s just got such a nice beat to it, with hand claps and bells to boot. Who couldn’t get down to that?
I’m surprised that I didn’t fall into Unknown Mortal Orchestra earlier than I did. Despite that, I’m excited to dig back through their discography further now. It’s shocking that a two-piece could create an album with tracks that have such a complexity to them, and for that I applaud them. Sex & Food is an album I can easily see myself listening to on repeat, without skipping a track; it’s a solid album the whole way through, bringing something to the table that every fan could enjoy, from fast to slow tracks, simple to complex.