With some bands, it’s quite apparent when they don’t give a solitary shit about genre boundaries and sticking to them, and Australian outfit Omahara, are certainly one such group. Their latest cut, Upsilamba, exhibits a flagrant disregard to playing it safe and across it’s four untitled tracks, sees the band utilising a combination of sounds rarely seen in this area of music, to empirically deconstruct the band itself.
Without sounding reductive, Upsilamba sounds like a noise rock album caught with a long coat and shades in a cabaret club. Omahara are able to go from smooth woodwind sections to chaotic harsh noise jams in a heartbeat, with the first of the four tracks, ‘Part 1’, blindsiding you beautifully. The noisier sections on this album rarely hold back as thick layers of guitar distortion and sporadic jazz-esque drumming are all gelled together with the spidery woodwind, culminating into a real treat for the ears. Even in these quite abrasive sections, Omahara know when to let the listener breath. During ‘Part 2’, the group are able to slowly meld into some quite emotive guitar drones, alongside the oddly hypnotic seething vocals which creep in and out.
The interlude track, aptly titled ‘Interlude’, serves as an ear break, and the off kilter guitar chords transition nicely into the third track. It seems a shame however to have such a musically functional track on this album. “It’s a breath taken in the midst of an act aimed to shed stolen and appropriated forms of cultural influence, it’s the sigh or moment of reflection, perhaps anticipation before a child hands back a toy forcefully or deceivingly removed from a sibling. It’s an interpretation of Upsilamba – a word made up by Vladimir Nabokov, in his book Invitation to a Beheading.” This quote from Omarhara shows that this track is a borderline embodiment of this album, an emancipation and deconstruction of the band itself. Omahara also say: “The word is one which captures the essence of a feeling. There are so many interpretations out there. It relates for the band, to the desired outcome or purpose we personally each attain from the performance which is a form of ritualistic shedding”. The weight behind such an otherwise minimal track is truly noteworthy, however the profundity may be missed by many due to it’s musical simplicity.
Hectic, enthralling and completely free, Omahara are able to instill such emotion into their music and express in a way which only cares about giving that emotion back to the listener.
Upsilamba is out now via Art Is Catharsis and is available here.
Words: Sean Elias