Music Reviews

Omni Deluxe

(Trouble in Mind) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

It’d be too much to expect a marked post-punk reinvention considering the genre has turned itself inside-out far too many times to even keep count. But it’s always a welcome surprise when it sounds, well, weirder, and Omni deliver that in spades on their debut effort, Deluxe. The Atlanta trio writes arty post-punk songs that have something of an unpleasant curiosity, fiercely inaccessible yet armed with a copious amount of hooks.

Omni never makes things easy for the listener, which is essentially an integral part of the band’s charm. Their cyclic, skittish arrangements result from a very formalist understanding of past musical movements that clearly influenced their sound, with a very rigid code of etiquette that must be followed at all costs.

It may give the impression that Omni write songs that are too stuffy and calculated for their own good, but thankfully, it’s accompanied with the kind of tuneful grooves that ultimately propel forward in proper alignment - Aftertaste, for instance, uses push-pull rhythms that unravel like DEVO at their most deranged, while the aptly-titled Wire pierces slightly like the splintered corners of a jolting Josef K song with its spindly guitars and prickly guitar work.

Omni performs with a freedom to just explore any ideas that come to mind, even if their stylistic curios becomes less and less discernible with more listens. This may be due to the presence of temporary, but essential, Deerhunter alumni Frankie Boyles, having been part of a band that always upheld the canon of indie rock greats to high regard while always rearranging things with a bit of an odd layout.

Unsurprisingly, this songwriting approach conveys their vision best - Earrings has a gently joyous jangle melody that fairly appropriates some of Deerhunter’s luminous arpeggios, while the knotty Plane links together a swirl of strangled vocals with a tense, off-putting chorus that oxidizes a catchy guitar part like that of a Chad VanGaalen production. These sharp contrasts produce a unique, brownish tinge, as if they’re beautifying a sorting of junkyard instruments with an unsophisticated production sound that gives them a live, spontaneous feel.

There’s something to be desired for the affected non sequiturs, which can border on incomprehensible, but hardly does it throw a cloud over their consistently bent deconstructions. Curiously, Omni could welcome some balance into their arrangements; they’ve already figured out a way to structure their lopsided ideas, which is a crucial element that most aspiring experimental bands with a pop slant struggle with in the first place. And that’s something that cannot be taught.