In the world of music, the pop genre has always been a refuge for accessible escapism, a pleasant solution from a crude and cruel world and a break from constant pressure. Those albums and those catchy hooks become attached to our subconscious for us to sing along with in some hard and delicate situation. In this instance, Cullen Omori from his former band, Smith Westerns, comes out with his first solo project New Misery, a well crafted album with a great collection of sour-flavored, juicy pop songs, that helps bring that naïve summer sun back.
New Misery takes us on a gentle and very sweet rollercoaster ride with a sky filled with candy cotton clouds made out of teenage love, flows of colorful melancholy and simple, straight-forward enjoyable pieces of music. Songs like “and yet the world still turns” takes our hands and lets us swim in this wild open ocean of delicate, crackled synths, and then leads us to some toxic hyper-catchy, grungy heroic hopeful guitar riffs that just work and make us smile.
This popish and dreamish vibe that runs all through the album doesn’t really drive our immersion away from the good things that New Misery brings us with soft and delicate attention. The sound of almost every single track here is polished, glossy, colorful and simply amusing.
New Misery definitely puts us in a safe and comfortable zone. Though, for people who are interested in a new pop-oriented album that steps out from the conventional paddock, New Misery might be seen as a very bleached and recycled product. Cullen Omori stayed with the choice of simplicity. “No Big Deal” and “Sour Silk” are extremely predictable and some of those fluorescent catchy choruses are taken from very familiar places.
The thing that saves this album from been generic, is that there is a constant, upbeat and interesting flow that works great for some reason. “Two Kinds” is a childish journey that caresses our inner candy bear, wrapping us with cute back vocals, sparkling guitars, sugary keys and Cullen’s voice that just fits perfectly in this chocolate fondue, while “Hey girl” and “Lom” have some of the most intoxicating up-tempo beats that make for an instant head banger.
In brief, New Misery is a good record with some very good qualities. Cullen brings us an album that focuses on the idea of growing up, overcoming obstacles and moving on without been discouraged by difficult moments (i.e. the break-up of Smith Western). New Misery is a step forward for the artist in a positive direction, which shown in the record itself. Cullen proves to us with this new release that making music is still an interest, a passion and invites us to come over with him, to savor the small victory that makes life a little more flavorful every time.
Cullen Omori and Living Hour will be at Le Divan Orange on April 23.