II - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Feb 5, 2013
    80
    From the opening moments of the trippy, lo-fi intro "From the Sun" all the way to the funky-as-a-Hendrix-ballad closer "Secret Xtians," II takes risks and achieves greatness.
  2. Feb 25, 2013
    70
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra have crafted a tight, enjoyable sophomore album that solidifies their sound and sets them apart from their peers and musical ancestors.
  3. Feb 5, 2013
    73
    When II is truly on, it's proof that great albums aren't the sole measure of a great band, a subtle advance that puts Unknown Mortal Orchestra right back where they started: something of a mystery, but one that will certainly be interesting going forward.
  4. Feb 4, 2013
    90
    The scratchy lo-fi production doubles its mystery, resulting in an album of sensual pleasures and magical power. [Mar 2013, p.77]
  5. Feb 8, 2013
    60
    A murkily enveloping record, but one that occasionally misses its predecessor's gonzo sense of fun. [Mar 2013, p.110]
  6. Feb 5, 2013
    70
    The Portland trio make decaying states of consciousness seem like heaven with psychedelic guitar-pop that's alluringly out of focus.
  7. Raw melody made Unknown Mortal Orchestra exciting two years ago; now they’ve matched it with attention to detail.
  8. Jan 31, 2013
    75
    Portland-via-New Zealand psychedelic soul auteur Ruban Nielson returns here with another batch of cozy nuggets.[Jan-Feb 2013, p.90]
  9. Feb 12, 2013
    70
    Overall, while II is a success, it’s just not quite the great record it should have been.
  10. Jan 31, 2013
    70
    In terms of vulnerability, adrenaline-overdrive and frivolous riffing, however, II is firing on all cylinders.
  11. Jan 31, 2013
    80
    There's something about the production that makes this album sound as if it's being beamed in from a faraway planet
  12. 70
    While II doesn’t kick around quite the same as its predecessor, it makes up for that with subtleties.
  13. Feb 22, 2013
    50
    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.
  14. Feb 5, 2013
    83
    There’s more consistent musical plasma coursing through the veins of II.
  15. Feb 4, 2013
    70
    If there are discernible musical differences, it’s that there’s a little more clarity and slightly less reliance on the fuzz pedals.
  16. Feb 28, 2013
    82
    The production is minimal, leaving II feeling pure and honest.
  17. Feb 12, 2013
    80
    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.
  18. Feb 11, 2013
    75
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra's sophomore effort is marked by a certain familiar mystique that does well to recall the charisma and dazzling psychedelia of its predecessor. [No. 95, p.59]
  19. Mar 13, 2013
    78
    Sounding like it was recorded in a musty shoebox, II nonetheless overflows with tweaky charm.
  20. Feb 4, 2013
    90
    The Portland-based psych-rock outfit’s second album is an absolute triumph.
  21. 63
    Somebody needs to boot Nielson off his why-fi connection: beneath the murk is the work of a riveting craftsman.
  22. 75
    [A] frustratingly muted but nevertheless enthralling follow-up.
  23. The trance-like pace of II serves to reinforce the album rather than weaken it.
  24. Jan 31, 2013
    60
    To impugn such a fundamentally glazed record for losing focus as it nears the out-groove is a little like berating a shark for being snaggle-toothed. But as II unfurls, there are longueurs where Nielson can get a little vague and inward-directed.
  25. Feb 5, 2013
    80
    More often on the album’s 10 tracks than not, Nielson keeps the balance, giving each part equal time in the foreground and using understatement to his advantage.
  26. Feb 5, 2013
    100
    Far-out, fascinating, fantastic--just plain F-ing good.
  27. 83
    With II, UMO remains humble in composition and production, creating an honest album that comforts in the strangest ways.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Feb 11, 2013
    8
    This is a good album. A big improvement from their debut for sure. The ideas on this album are more developed and better executed than theyThis is a good album. A big improvement from their debut for sure. The ideas on this album are more developed and better executed than they were on their first release. The album starts off with three gems; "From the Sun" "Swim and Sleep" and "So Good at Being in Trouble" are all great examples of the growth and maturity this band's songwriting has gone through all three songs being examples of great ideas that are executed superbly. The middle of this album, however, does drag. "The Opposite of Afternoon" is a definitely a song that grows on you after a few listen, as is "Monki". The album also ends off strongly with "Faded in the Morning" and "Secret Xtians". Overall I'd say this is a great album, and a step in the right direction for Ruban and the gang. Ruban's songwriting definitely matures here, and boy, let me say, he absolutely shreds on guitar. The production is also perfected as the lo-fi/psych. rock feel is still there but it's a lot smoother and easier to take in right away. This album has just gotten me even more excited about this bands potential and future releases. Overall a pretty good album with a few gems. Full Review »
  2. Nov 1, 2013
    8
    A catchy album with vocals that are reminiscent of a psychedelic rock but played over these fresh and catchy little guitar riffs. The albumA catchy album with vocals that are reminiscent of a psychedelic rock but played over these fresh and catchy little guitar riffs. The album definitely provides a few songs that will make you want to listen to it again and again. A very quality album through and through. Full Review »