Enter Networker is the new album by Omni and their first with indie giant Sub Pop Records. Their sound is still defined by sparse drums, locked-in bass, blistering guitar and nonchalant yet assured vocals, but from the first notes of Sincerely Yours you'll immediately notice that Networker sounds much cleaner and more 'HI-FI' than their prior two albums, Deluxe (2016) and Multi-task (2017).
The departure in fidelity suits the new record and allows the listener to enjoy the nuances of their meticulous arrangements. Don't worry, the riffs of Gang of Four and Wire are still present, but the production is more lush and the harmony is even more expansive. Despite nods to the sounds of the '70s and '80s what comes through is a record fully rooted in the here and now. Thematically, this is apparent on the title track Networker taking a candid snapshot of the 'digital you' aspect of life in the age of the internet. The otherwise fun romp Skeleton Key also acknowledges the "direct message and obsessive" side of social media with lines like "if you don't like what you see, the pretty face on the screen, scroll on by..."
Networker was written half between tours and half during recording sessions. The band returned with longtime collaborator Nathaniel Higgins to the studio in South Georgia where they also recorded Multi-task and most recent single Delicacy. In this case, the 'studio' is a cabin near Vienna, GA (pronounced Vye-anna) that was built by Frankie Broyles' great-grandparents in the 1940s. The band completed four sessions between November 2018 and April 2019. Omni hit their stride in the cabin with songs such as Moat, which cruises along at a nice mid-tempo clip with sounds that are maybe piano or maybe the 'behind the bridge' strings of a Jaguar a la Sonic Youth or This Heat. Blunt Force provides a nice contrast to some of the more upbeat cuts, getting jazzy with its less traditional arrangement and psychedelic outro.