To say Hellions had set some pretty high expectations for themselves with Opera Oblivia would …
It’d be too easy to dismiss Melbourne instrumental prog-rockers The Omnific as a gimmick. A trio made up of two bassists and a drummer screams pompous jazz-funk noodling, but the precocious musicians in The Omnific (the eldest is 21-years-old) dazzle with their technical chops on their second EP Kismet.
The basses are front-and-centre the whole EP, and Fackrell and Peterson-Stewart do amazing things with them. The opening shredding of Objets de Vertu resembles synth arpeggios, and Bugbear turns them into flamenco guitars. The duo also prove that basses are dynamic and expressive instruments, conjuring contemplative atmospheres on closer Sonorous Pt 2, and the heavy Ersatz bites with hard chugging and stuttering.
Where they really excel is in their musical chemistry. They could easily compete against each other in extravagant technical displays, but instead work together in service of the song. Lines entwine to create melodies that counter and mix to make a whole, especially on the centrepiece title-track where the heavier djent-rhythm and lighter leads complement each other beautifully.
The basses are front-and-centre the whole EP, and Fackrell and Peterson-Stewart do amazing things with them.
The EP isn’t just about the bass work. Jerome Lematua’s drumming provides some wonderful rhythms. Cymbals crash like waves on cliffs amongst the lush synths of That’s All She Wrote, and he lets loose with double kicks on a heavy Ersatz.
The band also experiment with synths, filling out songs and adding texture. They do confine themselves on every song to either tinkling notes or washed-out strings. It’d be nice to hear more variety in sounds, but they do great things within those limitations.
The Omnific have technical skills, and the Kismet EP shows they can translate them into some gorgeous pieces that would fit brilliantly on a videogame soundtrack like Final Fantasy. At times the songs do sound like there’s something missing. More variance in sounds and effects on bass and synths could help them reach the grandiose heights they’re just out of reach of. It’s forgivable because the boys are still experimenting and finding their feet, which is exactly what EPs are for. Kismet shows their curious ears are heading in the right direction, and will no doubt release some exciting experiments in the future.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Kismet, Bugbear, Ersatz
STICK THIS NEXT TO: A Final Fantasy soundtrack, ERRA, Animals As Leaders