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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Lichens
Omns
Kranky

Rating: 7/10 ?


May 7, 2007
It becomes apparent, not long into Omns, that Lichens is a project in which rules don't play a part. It's an evolving body of work, blending the basic elements of a bunch of instruments into a single entity that shapes itself and develops into new, warped incarnations as and when it sees fit. Of course, there is a controller at the helm: one Robert Lowe, formerly of 90 Day Men, but don't expect those bands to serve as appropriate frames of reference, because Lichens is Lowe doing something decidedly different.

Omns provides quite a varied selection. The tracks range in length from 2:27 to 18:41, and titles as indeterminate as "Faeries" and "M st r ng W tchcr ft L v ng n Sp r t" gesture towards Omns' boundless nature. Indeed, Lowe seems to enjoy toying with conventional spellings as well as with sounds. The first two tracks, "Verver of Agassou" and "Faeries," are based upon wordless vocal loops; the results are not a million miles away from those of Black Dice, but Lowe's use of accompaniments (finger-picked electric guitar and sparse single piano notes respectively) imbues the overall sound with a starkly different, psychedelic sensation.

"Bune," in contrast, is made up entirely of noisy, overdriven guitar (could be a baritone guitar - it gets pretty low!). However, at nearly nine minutes it gets a little excessive and tiresome, detracting from the eccentricities built up over the opening two tracks. The audaciously titled "M st r ng W tchcr ft L v ng n Sp r t" is more subdued, structured around a trudging acoustic guitar pattern, before measured winds of sound collect and the track trails off into unconsciousness via Lowe's eerie vocal loops.

Similarly to his debut effort, The Psychic Nature of Being, Lowe seems to have struck a balance between chilling and calming with Omns. While it fits in aptly with Kranky's output - albeit residing at the weirder end of the label's spectrum - it isn't the most spectacular release to have been borne by the label. That said, Lowe's ingenuity and capability to create something so peculiar is worth credit alone. Plus, the label's decision to issue Omns with a DVD of footage from a live performance at Chicago's Empty Bottle last year serves as an intriguing insight to how Lowe produces his vast, expansive tones on the fly, giving the release further kudos.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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