New Misery is the debut effort of former Smith Western’s frontman, Cullen Omori. Those familiar with Omori’s former band will associate them with fuzzy, lo-fi riffs accompanied by catchy and energetic melody lines. In contrast, New Misery is a more polished, mature album focusing on a wealth of existential angst.
Given its title and these themes, you would be forgiven for imagining the album would be a melancholy affair, but, in fact, New Misery flits between the upbeat and the dreamy, reminiscent of either a less psychedelic Tame Impala or a more psychedelic Temples. The album is draped in synthesisers, reverb and delay, and plays at a tempo that makes it ideal long summer evening music.
Omori has a real ear for Pop melodies
However, despite the album’s heavy layering, you can still detect that Omori has a real ear for pop melodies. Omori himself admits that Top-40 played a key role in laying the foundations for New Misery, and this is particular evident in the tracks ‘Cinnamon’ and ‘LOM’.
The album isn’t quite ‘all-killer, no-filler’. At its best, New Misery is catchy and dreamy, but at its worst its wandering and slightly repetitive, such as in ‘And Yet the World Still Turns’ and ‘Sour Silk’. However, while one can quite easily draw parallels with other contemporary indie/alternative acts, as I’ve mentioned, the album still holds its own on the scene, and tracks like the formidable opener ‘No Big Deal’, show hints of real mastery.
New Misery is a very promising debut, and, should Omori continue to develop and refine, we can expect some great things in the future.