Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Sex & Food
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2018 Ratings: #441 / 760
User Score
Based on 371 ratings
2018 Ratings: #538
April 6, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Jagjaguwar / Label
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Loud and Quiet
A slick trip bursting with earworming indie-funk bravura, ‘Sex & Food’ is an ironclad triumph.
Northern Transmissions

It’s the tentative balance of sweet and sour that gives ‘Sex & Food’ its indelible charm.

Pretty Much Amazing

It’s an album that feels like an articulate stand-in for the unease I’ve been feeling pretty much non-stop since the fall of 2016. Sex and Food is a beautiful introspection and a far better answer to the day’s political malaise and helplessness than my usual response of embarking on an enraged and slutty food binge.

The Skinny

This is a smorgasbord of an album: one to be indulged, and one to be savoured.

God Is in the TV
While embracing the vocabulary of rock music, Nielson has done something that seems increasingly lacking in the form: produced an album of beautiful, thoughtful, melodic songs with such a defined sonic identity that suggest that Nielson could become a real auteur of the genre.
It may not reach the peaks of the previous album but it's stuffed with ideas, and proves that Nielson's consistently shifting tone finds creative strength where others might stretch themselves too thin.
Now four LPs deep, ‘Sex & Food’ is another tasty morsel from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Showing not only progression and honing of a craft, this record goes from a hulking shredding Goliath to a reflective funk record in the space of a few minutes with wonderfully engrossing results.
Drowned in Sound

Ultimately, Sex & Food is a very impressive record from not only Nielsen but also just to possess during these troubling times. There’s a lot to be scared about right now, but there’s also a lot out there to love, and thanks to UMO, we now have a soundtrack for that.


There's a lot to dig into and a lot to like about Sex & Food. It's not as instantly catchy and focused as Multi-Love but there is a craft to Nielson's songwriting that is timelessly engaging.

No Ripcord

Ruban Nielson’s fourth LP behind the kaleidoscopic moniker that is Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a thing of delicate beauty for the most part, and is a different kind of stimulant to the colourful libido of 2015’s Multi-Love.

The 405

Sex & Food gives the audience a closer look at the chaos-wrapped disco frenzy inside Ruban’s mind.

Bloated with cloudy production and indecipherable vocals, ‘Sex & Food’ is also UMO’s most intentionally complex record to date.
The Line of Best Fit

It might seem contrary to the first few songs on the album, but vigorous pace and brash vivacity aren’t required elements of the best tracks on Sex and Food. Unknown Mortal Orchestra sounds best when intricate, but tender-hearted.

A few listens into Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s fourth record it becomes clear that it is less accessible than any of their previous albums. Repeat plays reveal grooves that you can ride and little figures that jump out, but it remains a much more abstract piece of work than anything else Ruban Nielson’s project has put out.

On some level, it’s a relief again to see Nielson discover new territory on Sex & Food. The record’s otherworldly folk, shellshocked R&B, and emaciated soul drift closer than ever to that “new musical dimension” of his. But it can be an exhausting trip.

FLOOD Magazine

Sex & Food can be a light and easy listen, but its underlying dualities and general restlessness make it a more complex and rewarding album than it first appears.

A.V. Club

Although Sex & Food’s heavy-lidded moments can occasionally meander too far afield into somnolence, the record’s sharp observations about life, politics, and society are focused.

Under The Radar

On Sex & Food Unknown Mortal Orchestra are inventive, ragged, sometimes tiring, and very cool.


While the band touch on many of ideas that made them so enduring in the past on their fourth record, Sex & Food, too often it feels underdeveloped and lacks the usual balance of swagger and sensitivity.

‘Sex & Food’ comes with a handful of missteps, like the forgettable ‘Not In Love Were Just High’ and ‘This Doomsday’ in the album’s final third. But by and large, it sees UMO pushing their sound impressively, bending the rule book as crudely as they can before the spine breaks.
This more paired-back approach isn’t always successful, mind: certain parts of ‘Sex & Food’ - a bit like inviting whipped cream into the bedroom - seem like a really good idea at the start, but turn into a bit of a sloppy mess along the way.
The Observer

Perhaps significantly, on Sex & Food there’s a takedown of chemically confused emotions via the medium of malfunctioning pop ... and more conflicted desires: to acknowledge the ills of the world, but to coat with heady balm where possible. So sonic derangement figures on this accomplished, disjointed record

Spectrum Culture

It’s tempting to call Sex & Food a meandering mess of an album, and it does at times feel that way.

The Needle Drop

On Sex & Food, UMO try to convey significant political messages via an inconsequential bedroom pop sound.

It was kiiiinda boring
What a cringy album title lol
why wasn't hunnybee a single?? what a darn bop
hey this is uh good

favorite tracks:
-american guilt
-everyone acts crazy nowadays
the musical equivalent of eating a loaf of dry bread with no water to wash it down
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Track List

  1. A God Called Hubris
  2. Major League Chemicals
  3. Ministry of Alienation
  4. Hunnybee
  5. Chronos Feasts on His Children
  6. American Guilt
  7. The Internet of Love (That Way)
  8. Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays
  9. This Doomsday
  10. How Many Zeros
  11. Not in Love We’re Just High
  12. If You’re Going to Break Yourself
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Added on: February 8, 2018