Omni – Networker
Omni polish their post-punk sound for their first album on Sub Pop – the result is a record packed with fidgety mini-epics
It’s a shame that the most useful words to describe Omni’s sound essentially amount to a 'music writer' meme template – wiry (and Wire-y), barbed, angular – because their music is so appealingly metallic and dexterous, so meticulously crafted and nimble. On the pin-sharp Networker, the Atlanta duo mine similar 80s post-punk fare as on previous records, their guitar strings wound tighter than ever. Yet they also clean up their lo-fi tendencies, imbuing already razor-like chords with ear-slicing abilities for their Sub Pop debut.
Omni songs are fidgety mini-epics; they refuse to stay still, moving in fits and starts. Closer Sleep Mask stutters satisfyingly, while Courtesy Call’s languid Marquee Moon phases are periodically snapped to attention. Underage has a smooth breakdown for a filling.
Frankie Broyles’ guitar is signature, insofar as it is Andy Gill of Gang of Four’s signature. That’s not a dig; even in the hands of others, it remains defiantly unique. It's thrillingly taut, each strum given as little time and space as possible to squeeze out all its richness. There is no ringing or echo; these guitars vibrate and churn, machine-like and efficient.
Philip Frobos’ bass is particularly impressive, never sitting still and difficult to pin, like an agile spider evading capture on linoleum tiles. The dotty keys of Present Tense offer a similarly knotty experience, and also add something truly different to the band’s wheelhouse.
There are lyrical themes explored here – social media and the 'digital you' face criticism, as expected from an act sonically indebted to the past – but they are window dressing for songs full of rhythm, forward motion and tightly packed kinetic energy.
Listen to: Courtesy Call, Present Tense, Skeleton Key