If you’ve heard ‘Wire‘, from Omni‘s debut album Deluxe, you may have them pinned in the way that I did. I thought, at that point, that I could sum them up in the following sentence – “The Strokes playing indie-disco style versions of songs that could have been written by the Gang Of Four, but with cheaper sounding instruments.”
While I stand by that comparison for ‘Wire‘ (which, incidentally, is meant as a compliment), the truth is that Deluxe is so much more than that.
Formed by former Deerhunter guitarist Frankie Broyles and two ex-members of Carnivores, Philip Frobos and Billy Mitchell (bass/vocals and drums respectively), Omni play a brand of spikey slacker pop – immediate, infectious and, with only one song exceeding the four minute mark, they never, ever outstay their welcome. The likes of ‘Eyes On The Floor’ display a wistfulness more readily aligned with, say, The Go-Betweens, while ‘Earrings’ could be considered romantic post-punk, should such a thing even exist; “I dropped them in the sink / didn’t have much time to think – your earrings! Your earrings!” sings Frobos, and I suspect that this is a line of which The Wedding Present’s frontman David Gedge would have been immensely proud!
Tremendously entertaining throughout, Omni seem to have taken the best elements of late seventies New Wave, mixed them with modern recording techniques and somehow come up with a record that demands you to dance. This is something that is key to the Omni vision, it seems, and its seductive beats could charm the most stubborn python out of its basket. Mind you, anybody who tries to dance to ‘Wednesday Wedding’ can only end up looking like Ian Curtis, such is its jerky, fidgety distinction. I never promised you a rose garden.
This is all well and good of course, and the musical cocktail tastes great at first. The deeper in you get though, you realise that its ingredients are not going to be tampered with a great deal. It’s not much of a criticism, granted, as it’s probably more of a plus point than a negative when a band develops is own idiosyncrasies. Still, as much as I felt entertained by Deluxe, part of me was desperate for them to go off on tangents occasionally, and it is perhaps a pity that this never happened.
Certainly an assured debut anyway, and strong enough to indicate that Omni are worth taking a punt on.
Deluxe is out now on Trouble In Mind.