Unknown Mortal Orchestra have shared new song ‘I Killed Captain Cook’.
It’s been four years since the New Zealand rooted group last released a full length endeavour, but the past 12 months has witnessed a steady slew of material. Both ‘That Life’ and ‘Weekend Run’ felt special, while new single ‘I Killed Captain Cook’ is one of their most personal to date.
A skeletal acoustic number with faint psych traces, the song matches familial reminiscence to a post-colonial viewpoint. Ruban Nielson dwells on the fate of Captain James Cook, the English explorer who helped propel the colonisation of Polynesia.
Ultimately, it was this process that doomed him – Cook attempted to kidnap Hawaiian chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu, an action that led to his demise.
The perspective is enhanced by Ruban’s own ties to the story, with his mother Deedee Aipolani Nielson, a Kanaka Maoli from Hilo and Miss Aloha Hula 1973, having told him the narrative as a child.
As a result, the song is written for, and acts as a tribute to, her – and that certainly explains the child-like innocence that rests on every word.
Tune in now.
Catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra on tour in the UK next year:
30 Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
31 London O2 Academy Brixton
15 Manchester Albert Hall
16 Leeds Stylus
17 Glasgow SWG3 Galvanizers