Kiwi-via-Portland psych-pop trio Unknown Mortal Orchestra will follow-up their excellent 2011 eponymous debut next month with II. The first single, ‘Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)‘, hinted at a cleaner, more pop-oriented approach this time around and a first listen through the album confirms this is indeed the case. Band mastermind Ruban Nielson heads in a much breezier and warmer direction over the course of these 10 tracks, eschewing some of the weirdness of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and it already sounds to me like an ideal summer soundtrack.

Nielson posted this related note on the band’s Facebook page recently in regards to the album’s release and piracy:

When our album comes out can you guys buy it with actual money coz that really helps us on so many levels… I’m not being anti-piracy, I’m just saying it’s more than money when you buy an album. Better album sales means happier label, happier booking agent, happier management and that means more productive band that gets to play in more towns and put out more records. When you send me a message that say ‘Why aren’t/haven’t you played in my town?’, best believe that whether or not you actually bought the album has more impact on that than you might think.”

You can stream II below, and be sure to buy it on February 5 if you want to see the band in your town (via NPR).


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