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Unknown Mortal Orchestra Return With ‘V,’ First New Album in Five Years

Hear “Layla” from mastermind Ruban Nielson’s upcoming double LP, out March 17th

Juan Ortiz Arenas

Unknown Mortal Orchestra return from a five-year gap between albums next month with V, the globe-trotting indie pop project’s first LP since 2018’s Sex & Food and IC-01 Hanoi.

UMO mastermind Ruban Nielson was inspired by “West Coast AOR, classic hits, weirdo pop, and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music” for the band’s upcoming double album, which was written amid the pandemic and family crises saw the singer and his brother Kody Nielson jumping around from Portland to Hawaii to Palm Springs, where the majority of V’s tracks were conceived and recorded.

However, it was during his stay in Hawaii — where he helped his mother and uncle move back to amid the pandemic — that most informed V’s 14 songs.

“In Hawaii, everything shifted off of me and my music,” Nielson said in a statement. “Suddenly, I was spending more time figuring out what others need and what my role is within my family. I also learned that things I thought were true of myself are bigger than I thought. My way of making mischief – that’s not just me – that’s my whole Polynesian side. I thought I was walking away from music to focus on family, but the two ended up connecting.”

The album also features longtime UMO member Jake Portrait and Ruban’s father, Chris Nielson, on saxophone and flute.

Ahead of V’s March 17 release via Jagjaguwar, UMO have shared the video for the laidback “Layla” (not the Derek and the Dominos song), technically the album’s second single; the penultimate track “I Killed Captain Cook” was released in 2022, ahead of V’s announcement.

V Track List
1. The Garden
2. Guilty Pleasures
3. Meshuggah
4. The Widow
5. In The Rear View
6. That Life
7. Layla
8. Shin Ramyun
9. Weekend Run
10. The Beach
11. Nadja
12. Keaukaha
13. I Killed Captain Cook
14. Drag

From Rolling Stone US