Live Video: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Live Video, Local Music
Jacob Webb
photo by Bebe Labree Besch (view set)

Although they hit you immediately, the depth of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's songs belies their urgency. Underneath a pulsating rhythm or Ruban Nielsen's expressive vocals is always a subtle, just-as-infectious keyboard melody or a texture that alters Nielsen's voice. On the Portland group's latest album, Multi-Love, that mastery of nuance serves Nielsen well as he explores the complicated channels of romantic partnerships and fatherhood with equal parts vulnerability and bravery. When Nielsen and his bandmates came by the KEXP studio, the musical documents of his personal journey were on full display, whether it was in the form of a fuzzy pop gem ("Necessary Evil"), a dancefloor-worthy jam ("Can't Keep Checking My Phone"), or an umptempo rocker ("Multi-Love"). In four songs, Nielsen showed that his musical output could match the breadth of his emotional introspection, revealing a little bit more with each note while leaving his intrigue intact. Watch the session below.

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