After a few years of creative silence from psychedelic rock and funk band Unknown Mortal Orchestra, UMO's fourth album Sex & Food was indeed music to my ears.

It appears I was not the only one excited by the Beatle-esque, 41-second opener A God Called Hubris. It was, in fact, referenced in the caption of a recent Instragram post by Grammy-nominated rapper Tyler, the Creator.

The album's second track, Major League Chemicals, moved on seamlessly from the opener and brought in the voice of ex-pat Kiwi musician Ruban Nielson (formerly of the Mint Chicks). Sadly, from there the excitement wavered.

Throughout the album, I found that either the vocals were memorable and the instrumental background was not, vice-versa, or neither. Basically, the songs were just not quite catchy enough.


Not all hope was lost. Hunnybee, American Guilt, Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays and Not in Love We're Just High were the peaks amongst the troughs, and I look forward to hearing them live at UMO's upcoming gig at the Auckland Town Hall.

Overall, however, this was not the masterpiece it was preceded by. I had great expectations after the Portland-based group's last album Multi-love was released in 2015. It brought Unknown Mortal Orchestra further critical acclaim and sent the group to the heights of a Coachella set.

On the other hand, despite its turn-on title, Sex & Food is a little limp.

Listen to A God Called Hubris here: