Omni – Multi-Task

If you haven’t heard Omni’s top-notch 2016 debut Deluxe, you should. But do me a favor – listen to their follow-up first and drop me a note; I need the benefit of a newcomer’s perspective.

Atlanta’s Omni performs as a trio, but they’ve recorded both of their albums as a duo, making the title Multi-Task perfectly apt. Guitarist Frankie Broyles did double duty on drums, while bassist Philip Frobos also handles vocals. Oddly, one of the seeming progressions from Deluxe is that the band now sounds more like an integrated whole – perhaps that’s owing to becoming more comfortable within the studio. Broyles and Frobos again worked with engineer Nathaniel Higgins, recording in and around the city. And in case you weren’t already aware of their ATL lineage, Frobos gives a shout out to Lenox Square in the very first line of opener “Southbound Station.”

Multi-Task’s production is also a bit cleaner, yet still quite economical. Stylistically, precious little has changed from Deluxe. The boys must get tired of seeing the same adjectives in every review – jittery, agit-pop, herky-jerky – but they certainly fit. Let’s try a few different reference points: Omni’s music could slide without notice onto a playlist of grooves honoring arty early ’80s NYC dance clubs like Hurrah. I also remain convinced they own the collected works of Scottish Postcard Records standard bearers Josef K.

Omni employ the frenetic tempos of that bygone era to underpin the bobbing and weaving of their inventive guitar and bass lines. After a while, however, it’s hard not to wish for more variety to the pattern – especially since aside from “Supermoon” the new tracks don’t pack the same immediacy as Deluxe’s. They slow the pace a bit in the album’s back half to good effect, including on the eerie “Calling Direct,” which recalls The Cure’s “10:15 Saturday Night.”

I can’t help but wonder if I’d like Multi-Task as much as I do Deluxe had I heard it first. For now, I’ll mark it down as a quite nice but somewhat lesser return.

[Trouble in Mind]