Two bass guitars, drums and some clever synthy/programmed sounds mesh together into a curious anomaly of grooves and aggression. A long time coming and highly anticipated, this full length album from the Melbourne trio is going to get some talk.
The band has already shown us that you can absolutely get away without a guitar, vocals or keyboards and still produce head turning music that djents, shreds and bends your ears. However, when you peak too early, where can you go from there? They’ve set a precedent, they basically own the standard. Now they essentially have to out-do themselves because simply put: they have no competition. Sure sure the math/prog scene has Animals As Leaders/Chon/Polyphia (and all the rest) out there doing amazing things but..if we’re being real.. it isn’t the same. Certainly not in the same octave at least!
The real question I want to ask is: how long can people listen to this?
The answer for me was..2 songs. Just 2 songs into an 11 track album and I was ready to switch off.
Full disclosure: I’m an accomplished bass player of 25-ish years, a prog and math rock fan, can tap and thump along with some proficiency, I also run some Darkglass gear and I was genuinely absolutely in awe of the bands earlier work…and their videos!!! That was inspiring shit. This should have blown my mind but instead I got bass-fatigue quickly. Real quick.
Then track #3 came up and I was thrown off by the quirky piano, swing tempo and the beautifully dark orchestral middle section! Wow..this is the kind of progression I was hoping to hear!
Similarly a surprise switch up happens during track #5 ‘Merlins id’ which actually gave me goosebumps. I won’t spoil it but my ears had definitely had enough of the bur-bur-ding that assaults the ears almost constantly.. yet this track knew just how to ease that assault and keep my attention.
Track #6 Matai’ plays with a similar softer side and balances the punches with a breathtaking on/off again mode which kept me engaged. Same again with track #8 Dwam ..the idea’s emerge through sounds and glacial reverbs and pad-sounds which feel cinematic. It’s in these moments where The Omnific have stepped up and beyond the archetype they created.
To sum up, this band sounds better the less they play. That’s it. To be fair, they are virtuoso musicians and yes yes this is incredibly accomplished art…if nothing else it’s a MASSIVE flex on all bass players ha ha ha! It’s also a relevant case for the argument: just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Full props to the three of them, they’ve pulled off something no one else can claim to have done before. Unique, impressive, masterful and intriguing. The resulting album is a milestone achievement and will shine among the math/prog releases of 2021, no doubt about that. I just found it incredibly hard to listen to all of it. Bite sized chunks may be the best way to process ‘Escapades’ until we have caught up to the level they are operating on…sometime in like 2121?