Cullen Omori

The Diet

Sub Pop

Sep 05, 2018 Issue #64 -  Kamasi Washington Bookmark and Share


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Within the past two years, ex-Smith Westerns frontman Cullen Omori has released a solo studio album, 2016's New Miserya self explanatory titleand relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles. Whether or not this move impacted Omori's life is debatable, but as far as his sound goes, there's no other explanation. In regards to the production of his latest solo album, The Diet, it explains quite a bitevery detail is cleaner, sharper, and more ebullient than anything in Omori's retro-rock catalogue.

Yet, sharp production should in no way indicate a progression for Omori. The Diet is stuffy and bloated, oftentimes heading into structural directions that end up sounding superficial, a million ideas attempted to be trimmed down for an entire full-length studio album. And, unlike New Misery, a hopeful and marginally focused record, The Diet's overall mood is scattered, littered with contributions from countless session musicians. These details eventually weigh down The Diet, and it wears down into a sluggish affair.

The Diet presents itself as somewhat of a break-up record, if not with a literal person, then with a life, a city, an era. The idea of a break-up starts to add a bit of clarity to The Diet, until Omori delivers lyrics like those on "Borderline Friends," cooing "You're in the kitchen, doing dishes/For Him." What at first may come off as a jolt of self-awareness and loneliness, really ends up sounding fractious and self-centered. These are typical tropes found throughout The Diet, or Omori just sounding like a straight up poor partner: "Sweetheart, believe me/I've just been so damn tired/Wiped out completely."

If it wasn't for tracks such as "All By Yourself" and "Black Rainbow," some of the album's simplest yet most diverse compositions, The Diet would feel like a massive lapse of judgment for Omori. Instead, it just proves that perspectives can often be foggy and misguided after a tough emotional setback or transition, and that doesn't make Omori the bad guyit simply makes him human. (www.cullenomori.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10



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