ALBUM REVIEW: Omega Male – Omega Male

omega male album

Written for the 405

So far as I can make out, the central thesis of Omega Male – the debut album by, uh, Omega Male, the new collaboration between Fujiya & Miyagi’s David Best (not sure which he is) and Sammy Rubin of Project Jenny, Project Jan (same again) – is that the ideal man is not the strutting, confident alpha male, resplendent in chest hair and Brylcreem, but the ‘omega male’: the fey, the shy, the charmingly inept. Which is a) A thesis I can definitely get on board with, and b) Is a little more complex than the central thesis of Fujiya & Miyagi’s ‘Knickerbocker’.

Omega Male runs us through topics like worrying about more traditional views of masculinity (‘Testosterone’), the classic awkward person trait of apologising even when they’ve “got nothing to be sorry for” (“We make ourselves sick,” they sing on ‘Uh-pol-uh-jet-ic’). This studiously uncool subject matter and stance serves as a sharp contrast to the music itself.

The defining characteristic of Fujiya & Miyagi’s music is bravery, repetition, and noise. Much like Omega Male, most of the song’s lyrics consist of just a few sentences repeated ad nauseum; the tone, intonation, and length of each word – and sometimes each syllable – changes slightly each time, almost unnoticeable, like a slight tweaking of a dial on a synthesiser. And the music has the motorik beat underneath it, an unwavering 4/4 beat with a fleet of synth and bass lines driving alongside it at the exact same speed.

What could become a little tedious in Fujiya is thankfully avoided, probably due to the involvement of Rubin: so, amidst the driving, hypnotic electronic rhythms, we get ‘You Bore Me To Tears’, a Frank Sinatra song filtered through an 808, complete with horns and lead piano; we get ‘No’, a pretty little pop gem, glittering with vibes (the instrument, not the concept) (maybe the concept a little, too).

Everything is still very right-angled, very proper. For a record festooned with so many funky bass lines, there’s very little room to free your mind, let alone let your ass follow. The songs unfold slowly, and slot together almost perfectly, like an Ikea flat-pack bookshelf (one with better instructions than usual). It’s certainly a thing of beauty, well-designed, functional – but there’s that nagging feeling that it was all too easy, that it isn’t particularly special.

Omega Male is a strange record – the subject matter means that it often sounds incredibly passive, difficult to engage with, hardly striving for your attention. It’s staring at its shoes with such intensity that it often doesn’t realise that there are other people around, trying to get its attention, and they wander off bored. It’s not perfect, but, isn’t that the point?

6.5/10

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