Modern anxiety and brinksmanship have reached peak levels it seems, and two recent albums have captured our current balance of hope and worry perfectly for me.
Both released earlier this year, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s “Panic Blooms” and Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Sex & Food” really do it for me. Each under their own power is good, but I think they’re better together. They’re the alternate soundtrack to San Junipero. They’re a Black-Eyed Soul opera in three acts.
I’ve done the work for you, if you wanna hear my impressions click “read more”->
Start with “Panic Blooms.” BMSR bring their typical organic synth warmth to this, their 6th album. It’s a first step out onto a dirt road, filled with plant imagery, like the sun on your face, but the digital undercurrent is one filled with a sombre melancholy not always present in their sound. It’s a day in the country but with something on your mind. It’s reflective inward while moving forward.
After the first two thirds of panic blooming you see the city of “Sex & Food” on the horizon. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest is more verbose than BMSR and after the long walk the energy gets more itchy, more busy. It’s the transition from the edge of the woods to the outskirts of the city. More movement, more people, more pavement and neon. By the time you reach downtown (“American Guilt”) you’re deep in it.
Then you’ve finished your business in the heart of the city, whether it’s business or pleasure. The rest of “Sex & Food” is the aftermath. Your actions are unavoidable, immediate. You’ll ruminate on your deeds of the day, the actions of the world at large. Now it’s time to head back home past the edge of the trees, down a similar path as the hustle subsides and you’re back in the sun, the grass, the breeze of BMSR. The road home ends with the trouble of the world a vague but persistent memory, the refrain of album closer “Mr. No One” echoing…”Should get a little more sunshine…should keep a little less haze around me.”