Unknown Mortal Orchestra – SB-04


RIYL: Kody Nielson (SILICON)

Grade: B+

Review By: Sean Lynch

2016 served as a quiet year for Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Coming off the release of their third studio album Multi-Love in 2015, the band only featured on the National’s Grateful Dead tribute compilation Day Of The Dead and had a single in the form of “First World Problem.” The band finally came out with “SB – 04” towards the end of 2016, the fourth installment of the series featured on Soundcloud.

The single is in a series of songs that started with “SB – 01” and each of these tracks focuses more on instrumentals rather than the vocal aspects of the music. Previous installments of the series have featured Ruban Nielson’s brother Kody and former Unknown Mortal Orchestra drummer Riley Geare.

The singles in the series are similar to the type of music the band provides on their studio albums, just without any vocals on the singles. The track, like the others in the series, comes in at about 20 minutes long. The atmospheric synths and bouncing drums laden with effect-heavy guitar create a weird psychedelic combination.

There are parts of the song that use unconventional sounds as instruments. Around 14:00 in, the sounds of rain falling is brought onto the track to back the synths and to give the song a relaxing tone. This cuts out to a heavier guitar riff and shows the unpredictable nature of this track.

The single runs long, but that’s nothing to complain about because of the quality of the content. While it is peculiar and leans away from the normal tendencies of the band, the song embraces those elements and uses them as its strengths. The track is one you really have to listen to in one sitting to get the full picture of it.  It doesn’t really run in sequence, but it is not a track to just hop into because of its unpredictability.


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