Unknown Mortal Orchestra to Release Double Album ‘V,’ Share New Single “Layla”

February 2, 2023
Unknown Mortal Orchestra to Release Double Album ‘V,’ Share New Single “Layla”

Photo by Juan Ortiz Arenas

Today, Unknown Mortal Orchestra announced they’ll release their previously-teased double album V on March 17 via Jagjaguwar. In celebration of the news, the New Zealand psychedelic rock band released their latest single, “Layla” along with an accompanying video.

The project came together in Palm Springs, Calif., between the sun-baked freeways and the lush coastline of Hilo, Hawaii. Ruban Nielson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Hawaiian-Kiwi frontman, drew from the traditions of West Coast rock, weirdo pop and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music for the offering.

“In Hawaii, everything shifted off of me and my music,” Nielson said in a press release. “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.”

Through V, their first double LP, the ensemble reflects on the road that led him to his revelations. During the early days of the pandemic, Nielson’s brother Kody flew from New Zealand to Palm Springs to assist with recording. After one of their uncles began showing signs of health problems, Nielson put aside his recording sessions and helped his mother and another one of his uncles to Hawai’i. After reuniting with his brother at a cousin’s wedding in Hawai’i, they returned to Palm Springs to record the 14 songs on V along with the help of his father, Chris (saxophone/flute) and longtime Unknown Mortal Orchestra member Jake Portrait.

The resulting album sparks images of clear skies, warm breezes, soft beaches and that subtle darkness that lives under the vast pristine surface of an ocean that stretches forever outward. Through this abstract message, Nielson’s sound is fun, explorative, and personal – propelling the ensemble to new areas of creative freedom.

The single “Layla” is a perfect example of the newfound sonic freedom, as is the video directed by Vira-Lata, which serves as the first part of a two-part series that documents the adventures of two young women. Notably, the first taste of the album was shared in October of 2022 with “I Killed Captain Cook” alongside a video featuring Nielson’s mother, Deedee Aipolani Nielson – Miss Aloha Hula 1973.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra also announced their first tour in four years in October, with performances in North America and the U.K., starting in March, shortly after the release of V.

Check out “Layla” below, and pre-save/order V here.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra V Tracklist

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