Atlanta’s Omni inches toward pop, but a sense of anxiety permeates its twitchy attack | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Atlanta’s Omni inches toward pop, but a sense of anxiety permeates its twitchy attack


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Omni has canceled due to a family emergency. A duo of Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker will headline instead.

On its tensile second album, Multi-Task (Trouble in Mind), Atlanta trio Omni continues to serve up wiry postpunk without a wasted gesture, summoning a sound built on twitchy rhythms and lean melodic armatures. Singer and bassist Philip Frobos unfurls existentially tinged lyrics with little sense of ceremony, occasionally accenting a line or a phrase with a well-placed dip or hiccup in his voice. Once again the taut rhythms sculpted by guitarist Frankie Broyles—who got his start playing in Deerhunter and who doubles on drums on the new record (drummer Doug Bleichner has since joined the group)—recall the hyperactive sound of Scotland’s Postcard Records, particularly the manic drive of bands like Josef K and the Fire Engines. Still, there’s something distinctly American about the clenched, nervous drawl and reticence of Frobos’s singing. Omni has developed its sound since it released Deluxe last year; many of its new songs have more explicit melodic thrusts than their predecessors, such as the sweetly chiming guitars on “Equestrian” or the tentative, awkward vocal curves that slink into the otherwise jagged “Date Night.” The emotional remove at Omni’s core doesn’t ever feel like boredom or perfunctoriness so much as resemble an anxiety that seems appropriate given the world we currently find ourselves in.   v

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