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(Credit: NRK P3)


Unknown Mortal Orchestra drop instrumental track ‘SB-09’


New Zealand rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra have gifted us with one final song for 2021, the slow-burning instrumental ‘SB-09’.

The conventional wisdom for most musicians is that the end of the year is a dead zone for new music. Why drop something in the waning days of the year when you can be one of the first artists with new music at the start of a fresh calendar year? It’s the holidays, everyone is exhausted, so why even bother?

Clearly, this line of thinking has not reached the Auckland practice space occupied by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who have now released an instrumental on or near Christmas for nine straight years. Despite being 18 minutes in length, this is actually one of the shorter entries into the ‘SB’ series. The 2017 effort ‘SB-05’ was a solid half an hour long, but no matter what the length is, each of the ‘SB’ songs is a wonderfully blissed-out listening experience.

‘SB-09’ takes the form of an ideal soundtrack to a carefree day at the beach. Sunny guitar lines, reggae, and surf music are all integrated into the sprawling soundscape. You can practically feel the sun hitting the sand in the band’s easy-going rhythms, accompanied with a nice beer or a joint to kickstart those lackadaisical rest and relaxation days.

The winter months here in the US and UK tend to be the warmest months over in New Zealand, and that undoubtedly has an effect on the newest addition to the ‘SB’ collection. ‘SB-09’ sounds like it could be some incidental music used in an episode of SpongeBob, and the tropical sounds are in stark contrast to the current overcast chill hanging outside my window at the moment. Tropical weather, low levels of Covid, awesome music – New Zealand sounds like the place to be right now.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra had a pretty solid year, releasing singles ‘That Life’ and ‘American Guilt’ while also getting a solid remix of Arlo Park’s ‘Too Good’ in for good measure. Just like ‘SB-09’, it was nothing too ambitious but perfectly pitched for a band that should probably ramp up activity starting in 2022.

Check out the full length ‘SB-09’ down below.