Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest release isn’t so much an offering of new material as it is a complementary piece to their second LP, II, released earlier this year. Ruban Nielson’s recent interest in the acoustic guitar – which was sparked by acoustic promotional sessions while out on tour – manifests itself into a five-song EP, comprised of three of II’s stronger tracks and a pair of covers by fellow experimental artists Dirty Projectors and Beck.

Recorded in Nielson’s basement with a single microphone, the songs strip away any production value and leave the songs naked, forcing the melodies and lyrics to shine. Openers, “Swim & Sleep (Like a Shark)” and “Faded in the Morning,s” seem to translate best, while “So Good at Being in Trouble” seems to lose something in the acoustic form. Nielson slows down the Dirty Projectors’ “Swing Lo Magellan” and Beck’s “Puttin’ It Down” and adds his own unique vocal style overtop of a finger-picked guitar.

At the end of the day, the EP seems to be a result of Nielson having fun and stretching his abilities as a musician, while giving something to the fans to chew on until their next full-band endeavour.

By Cory Jones

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