Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra has shared another new single, the second since his 2018 album Sex & Food. “That Life,” out now on Jagjaguwar alongside a music video (dir. Lydia Fine and Tony Blahd), follows July’s “Weekend Run,” which we hailed as one of the week’s best tracks upon its release.
A mid-tempo psych-pop track powered by a tumbling guitar riff and hazy keys, “That Life” is a portrait of trouble in paradise: Amid a tropical tableau of drugs and “a tequila son-in-law,” Nielson wonders, “How do the clouds get as pink as a peach?” The scene is both carefree and apocalyptic, part daydream and part waking nightmare. The “That Life” video matches the track’s uncanny energy, starring a puppet created by The Muppets and Sesame Street puppeteer and fabricator Laura Manns.
Nielson says of the song in a statement:
I saw this painting by Hieronymus Bosch called The Garden of Earthly Delights and in the painting there was a mixture of crazy stuff going on, representing heaven, earth and hell. When I was writing this song, ‘That Life,’ I was imaging the same kind of ‘Where’s Waldo’ (or ‘Where’s Wally’ as we call it in New Zealand, Australia and the U.K.) of contrasting scenes and multiple characters all engaged in that same perverse mixture of luxury, reverie, damnation, in the landscape of America. Somewhere on holiday under a vengeful sun.
“Stay tuned for more from Unknown Mortal Orchestra coming soon,” a press release teases.
Watch the “That Life” video below and listen to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s 2011 Daytrotter session further down.