Gee, The Omnific, how come your mom let you have two bass players? We make jokes, we bust out the memes, but the cold hard facts are that, despite what might look like a gimmick at first, the Australian three piece have already put in the work and reaped the rewards of a lot of hard work and determination, not to mention a whole lot of talent, and all that even comes before the release of their first full-length album, the aptly titles Escapades. On this release, the band seeks to prove that they are more than just a fluke, and, spoiler alert, they absolutely do.
The list of accolades the Melbourne-based internet sensations have already racked up is kind of astounding for a band this early in their career: three EPs, five million Spotify streams, two million YouTube views, opening slots on tours with big names like Between the Buried and Me, Intervals and Ne Obliviscaris as well as headlining tours of their own, and slots acting as brand ambassadors for the Holy Trinity of basses and bass accoutrement: Darkglass Electronics, Dingwall guitars and Neural DSP. I know I personally can’t log on to YouTube without being recommended one or more of their videos (what can I say? The algorithm knows me.), and I’m definitely not complaining about that. There’s a reason why these lads are blowing up and blowing up hard, and it has every bit as much to do with their incredible musicianship as it does the shock factor of being a band that is “just” two bass players and a drummer. Whereas some go the Spinal Tap route of laying on the gimmick too hard, The Omnific use their unusual arrangement as a legitimate tool to help them incorporate truckloads of technique into their funky, groovy, progressive metal/rock hybrid. On Escapades, the trio’s mission statement is to craft a style that is accessible to all music lovers, and they do a pretty damn good job of succeeding. The technical skills are dazzling, but not so overwhelming that you can’t get into the song itself.
Of course, technique is mostly what is intended to be on display, and on Escapades, The Omnific put on a goddamn clinic. You get the full picture of what a bass or two can do: taps, slaps, shreds, grooves, pops, harmonics, harmonies and so much more. What’s more, though, is that it all is done with as much attention to how to serve the song as it is to being technically proficient. These are highly textured compositions that flow through a wide variety of styles and genres, but never reach the point of alienation. The melodies flow freely, and the duo of bassists wind their way through a lot of subtle and delicate harmonies as much as they slap and tap through blistering, frantic passages, all the while perfectly exemplifying why a Dingwall and Darkglass pedals go together like peanut butter and jelly. These truly are catchy tunes, and there is something intangible to the enjoyment I get out of them beyond the sheer cool factor (although, let’s be real, this is my brand to a t). The funky grooves of leadoff single “Wax and Wane” carry enough weight on their own merits, and coupled with the airy piano and faint backdrops, it makes for a hypnotic, mesmerizing tune. Opener “Antecedent” jumps right into things with a flurry of tapped arpeggios and features a guest appearance from Polyphia’s Clay Gober, because apparently having two bass players just isn’t enough. The drum work should also not be overlooked here: it’s the glue that helps hold everything together just when the instrumentals start flying apart.
Escapades doesn’t just help maintain the momentum The Omnific have built over the short time they’ve been churning out their music; it almost redefines what a bass can do in music. The compositions here are so well executed that there is a whole new world of study to be delved into just from this release alone. I wouldn’t be surprised if a whole new wave of copycats popped up after this, but just don’t forget who put it on the map. Whatever comes next is truly going to be buck wild.