Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2013 Ratings: #147 / 1035
User Score
Based on 333 ratings
2013 Ratings: #133
Liked by 9 people
February 5, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
Jagjaguwar / Label
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Fly

Fuzzy, funky, freaky, fragile – there aren’t enough F-words for UMO.

90
The 405

Whether or not this finds UMO a wider audience, only time will tell. As it is, it's a supremely commendable second effort.

90
FasterLouder

From soul to psychedelia may seem like a stylistic jump, but Ruban Nielson has absorbed his influences so completely, and has attained such control of his sound, that he makes such eclecticism seems completely natural.

90
Clash
‘II’ displays both a glowing warmth in its production and a deft use of space that illuminate Nielson’s superbly-crafted compositions.
85
Beats Per Minute

II exists on that threshold, between life and death, consciousness and sleep, day and night, fantasy and reality, beauty and violence, where thesis and antithesis blur and become indistinguishable from one another

83
Paste

Unlike the Frankenstein approach Nielson employed on the debut—which sounded like a depository for all of the music and pop culture he absorbed as a kid—there’s more consistent musical plasma coursing through the veins of II.

83
Pretty Much Amazing

With II, UMO remains humble in composition and production, creating an honest album that comforts in the strangest ways.

80
NME

Raw melody made Unknown Mortal Orchestra exciting two years ago; now they’ve matched it with attention to detail. 

80
No Ripcord

II triumphantly bypasses novelty for a more meaningful level of significance: An album whose songs, personality, and band-chemistry come together for something that could well outlast its own current weirdness

80
AllMusic

Even if II is not as sunny, fun, or simple, Nielson wears the badge of maturity well and doesn't fall prey to typical sophomore pitfalls or lose track of his original psychedelic vision.

75
Under The Radar

He pulls as generously from classic soul as he does from those deep vintage rock reserves, crafting great, visceral pop tunes with appeal far beyond their stylistic underpinnings.

75
The Line of Best Fit

Even with that loose, untethered album serving as a guide to get the listener to this point, you still aren’t fully prepared for II, their frustratingly muted but nevertheless enthralling follow-up.

73
Pitchfork

A record that's equally remarkable and frustrating, split between incredible pop songs and turgid guitar noodling with very little middle ground.

70
Drowned in Sound

Beneath the isolation blues, II is buoyant and visceral enough to suffuse its existential cloud with a redemptive joie de vivre by way of the playful talent inherent in its creation.

70
Consequence of Sound

While II doesn’t kick around quite the same as its predecessor, it makes up for that with subtleties.

70
musicOMH

While the album is weakened a little by an aimless middle, the majority of II shows just how good Unknown Mortal Orchestra can be when Nielson knows which direction he wants to take.

70
PopMatters

Unknown Mortal Orchestra have crafted a tight, enjoyable sophomore album that solidifies their sound and sets them apart from their peers and musical ancestors.

70
Rolling Stone
Nielson unspools his delightedly spacey mumble-croon over neo-hippie guitar magma and dusty grooves that might've been found in a box out behind Beck's garage.
50
Tiny Mix Tapes

While it still has a few standout moments that grab the listener and spark a mood, it’s only occasionally eventful and, ultimately, doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessor.

CheapandLethal
95
Exceptional
BtterSweet
79
This is nice. Melodic. Calm. My favourite album from Unknown Mortal Orchestra by a lot.

Favourite Track: One at a time / From the Sun
Least Favourite Track: No Need for a Leader
BbyBoy
94
I love II. I've come back to this album so many times since I first discovered it in early 2019. The first half is a melody that I normally go through whenever I get in the mood for one song on the album, and the second half of the album still manages to catch up with it. Fucking brilliant.
Fav Song: From The Sun/One at A Time
Least Fav: Dawn
freckledfreako
90
Proof that psychedelic rock was the strongest in the 2010s.
celsi03
72
mmm yummy Sounds

favorite tracks:
-from the sun
-swim and sleep (like a shark)
-the opposite of afternoon
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Track List

  1. From the Sun
  2. Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
  3. So Good at Being in Trouble
  4. One at a Time
  5. The Opposite of Afternoon
  6. No Need for a Leader
  7. Monki
  8. Dawn
  9. Faded in the Morning
  10. Secret Xtians
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Added on: October 11, 2012