Framed from within the relentless heatwave of Atlanta, Georgia, Omni cuts through the oppressive humidity of the gilded southern capital with a cool and breezy combo of lo-fi nonchalance. In paying homage to post-punk forebears like Pylon, Wire and Devo, Omni exploits a succinct and focused sound in their 2016 debut. Strung taut with wiry guitar and incisive rhythms, their approach is not without plenty of sneaky, danceable melodies to round off the hard angles. Indeed, ‘Deluxe’ represents a mission statement to cruise a steady though lavish wave of disenchantment like it was 1979.
‘Multi-Task’ is an improvement to that surefire philosophy. Where guitarist Frankie Broyles once kept his noodling perfectly strict and razor-sharp, he now fans and stretches out, allowing his silvery tone to breathe in a way that summons the art and funk of Roxy Music, or occasionally even the cheekiness of Sparks. Vocalist and bassist Philip Frobos continues to ebb and flow with his crisp and oft-detouring beats. Philip’s stony voice retains a detached stoicism with hints of spirit sneaking in here and there. On the road for a solid year and left to finish the record in between tours, Omni ratchets the fidelity higher as the punk gets more ‘proto’ and less ‘post’—all while the decade melts away – ex post facto, into the late 60s and early 70s. Welcome in the eccentricities, guys.
With ‘Multi-task’, Omni capitalizes on the indulgences of ‘Deluxe’ melodically, rythmically and in their aesthetic indifference. In doing so, they never sound ostentatious during any facet of their evolution. It’s with that expert handling of subtlety that the power trio—recently bolstered by the addition of ex-Warehouse drummer Doug Bleichner—has managed so much of its charm in its brief history. Luxuriate in two-minute track after three-minute track of covert hooks that lock into subconsciouses and keep the record spinning, front to back to front again.
Squirming black mold in a dingy Bayshore warehouse became sentient, creaked and took humanoid form…Blank Square and their singularly odd-punk debut, Animal I. Leaning towards the weirder end of Flesheaters but with a sterility that can only be contemporarily compared to Total Control’s Aussie hardcore quarantine no wave and then a pinch of what made DNA and Mars amazing…It’s captured with plenty of concrete and sheet metal kept in the mix and a highlight towards dissonant syncopations. Recorded in what my minds eye makes into a empty room minus one chair and definitely down a flight of wet, cement stairs. Saxophone with a mild but nauseating-at-times rippling slap delay, cruising on a rhythm section that sounds like they’ve got another house show to play tonight after this one. Rectangular in all the right places, uncomfortable like sleeping in a car (but hey, you do what you have to do). If you love art in your sax punk, then you will what’s going on in the Bay like we do, but this reaches waaaay back into California’s punk history (SST would’ve undoubtedly dug this). For fans of UV race, Useless Eaters, The Fall, the 80s and young Greg Ginn. It’s out on Castle Face Records February 24th…there you go, weirdos.
“The dark and (heavy on the) dreamy side of post-punk” – Maximum RocknRoll