Blood For Broyles
Frankie Broyles has been on quite the musical odyssey these past few years. Hot on the heels of the dissolution of his punk project Balkans, modern indie baron Bradford Cox recruited the Atlantian son to bolster the ranks of Deerhunter. Broyles bailed shortly before Fading Frontier to release a single and a demo LP or two. Now’s he back with OMNI, a full-fledged indie garage band whose debut single sounds like an exact cross between Broyles’ pre-Deerhunter group and Cox’s own rambunctious studio debut Turn It Up Faggot, albeit with the post-punk influences drawn out of the latter through some strange form of musical genre magnetism. Deluxe boasts purposeful anti-production – crackling and distortion from wonton compression, flat bass tones and mixed-down, distant-sound vocals. The snare drum hits of “Earrings” sport the abrasive, ear-rippingly loud high-end that groups like Jay Reatard and The Flaming Lips utilize so often
The piercing brightness of Broyles’ guitar tone punches through monotone soundscape of “Wednesday Wedding,” but even then it still sounds vaguely like New Order. You can hear the individual strums that scrape too close to the guitar pickup and ring out stilted and half-muffled. OMNI work this angle hard, bringing it to at least three different logical conclusions. The group shuffles to the dance floor in the Gary Newman-esque “Wire.” The tracks’ pulsing bass line and wistful singing, while not quite falsetto, are definitely reminiscent of Of Montreal, just without all the chorus lines and feather boas. The best part is the distorted and overdriven disco guitar – like Nirvana covering Earth Wind & Fire. With “Cold Vermouth” there’s finally some flourish. While still understated, the band takes a page from Johnny Marr’s book, dispensing thick chordal cascades at every turn. Aside from the distinctly modernist drum patterns, “Eyes on the Floor” is where OMNI’s pre-70’s influences shine the brightest. The keyboards embedded in the track’s outro could easily have come from the 13th Floor Elevators’ body of work, and the non-committal vocals and laid back feel of “Siam” seems touched by the spirit of Lou Reed.
Deluxe retains its messy garage rock feel throughout the entire ordeal despite how tight the group sounds as a unit. OMNI have taken full advantage of the era of revisionism, creating these sonically accurate period pieces and tacking on newer trappings that the original crop of garage-influenced post-punkers didn’t have the resources to pull off, like the huge blanketing soundscapes that close many of the album’s songs. However, Broyles’ crew is far from alone in the latest wave of rock revival. Flanked on one side by fellow ‘muricans Parquet Courts, heroes of the new lo-fi, and on the other by Shopping, a British trio who are surely OMNI’s perfect European analogue in the vein of Ramones v. Sex Pistols. Shopping are a bit nimbler (think Gang of Four) and more prim and proper when it comes to studio fidelity, but the two are transcontinental birds of a feather. All signs indicate that we have much to look forward to in the lifespan of both Shopping and Broyles’ new act.