• By: Owen Maxwell

Album Reviews: Allie X, Omni, Bleachers

Allie X – Girl with No Face
Oakville, Ontario

With her unique brand of art-pop, Allie X keeps pushing the boundaries of what her music can be. This latest mix brings all the fun of mainstream pop with all the weird unpredictability, and intense emotion that you simply won’t hear anywhere else. Leaning into her penchant for dark and brooding synths with a dance edge, “Weird World” opens the album with a sprawling, futuristic glow and vocals that rise higher and with more fury on each chorus to emphasize the desperation in the track. Additionally, the German lyrics add to the off-kilter approach of the track, while driving up a sense of adapting to the changes around you. The danger in the world Allie X constructs on the record hits a grimy point on “Girl with No Face,” where she rides on sharp and slithering bass lines and delivers ghostly vocals to add to the track’s unnerving glow. Once it asserts its grooves, “Galina” feels like the shady and mystical alternative to an early Madonna track, and one on which Allie X takes some of her most powerful vocals to date. This isn’t to mention the range in delivery she shows across this one song too. The driving core of “Black Eye” makes for an intoxicating rush, and one that keeps mounting and growing more impassioned and deranged as it goes, like a true haunted banger.

Amanda Rheaume Intruder (Single)

With a recent win at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, Amanda Rheaume comes in roaring on her latest single. Though “Intruder” starts with a calmer folk-rock charge at first, the track grows into a fiery anthem, and then a full-blown symphonic charge as Rheaume’s emotions hit their high point. The constant tension and friction are reflected in Rheaume’s words, as she reflects on life’s ironies and cruelties hitting again and again. Rheaume’s performance morphs with the music, adding vocals to the mix as the whole feeling gets its most dire, and swapping to those horns and strings when words just don’t quite do it justice anymore.

Bleachers – Bleachers
Bergenfield, NJ

Jack Antonoff has found time to do a bit of everything, and has merged his latest sounds as a producer with a large dose of Bruce Springsteen for a record that can be heaven at one moment and sleepy the next. At its best when it’s invoking a party from its overall energy, yells and chatter from Antonoff and the incredible layering on the record, it only loses steam by not keeping this same energy up all the time. Full of Springsteen influence, “Modern Girl” is a sax, harmony and neon riff-heavy jam dream, with Antonoff having an infectious ball while providing a rich set of arrangements to give the track some extra nutritional value. The Springsteen touch is almost too on the nose with “Me Before You,” though the unusual fast-yet-slow feeling of the song does enough to offset that, and leave the sax to do some emotional massaging and soothe listeners’ souls. The shifting dance beat of “Tiny Moves” has an undeniable romance to it that makes it powerfully charming, and gets you through the perhaps too minimalist moments, and allows you to reach that shift where the song gets you lost in the layers of strings and synths, and just slip into a dream.  While it perhaps invokes a few too many contemporary moments than it should, the building harmonies of “Self Respect” become an exciting call to the whole of humanity to break away and do something for their spirit for once, and make a great memory.

Arturo Rojas – Te Diré (Live) (Single)

There’s a beautiful clarity to the intro as Arturo Rojas sets out on “Te Diré” that almost makes you sad to hear the band join, but then the song hits a new rhythmic high that takes it further. With sublime percussions and glossy backup singers filling out the sound, the energy here is hard to top. The creamy tones on that guitar solo are vicious, and the organ lines do equally great work to deliver a satisfying punch. And Rojas elevates the whole package with his thick and percussive vocals that really tap into just how important this track is to him.

Omni Souvenir
Atlanta, GA

After their longer break, Omni are poised as ever and renewed in their sonic vision, crafting one of their finest records yet. Evolving their tones and knack as writers, while keeping their iconic hallmarks right where they like them, this is Omni at their most refined, and losing nothing from their time between records. There’s a churning roll to the grooves of “Exacto,” as the band merge their usual angular antics with more blooming and cutting moments to really diversify their sonics. Their whole sound is sharp as a knife on “Plastic Pyramid,” with their pop at its peak, and the back and forth with Izzy Glaudini providing the perfect contrast to let the whole thing come together in an addicting cycle of sounds racing downhill. The pianos become both the frosting and abrasive tools on “INTL Waters,” as the band keep shifting direction on the song every few phrases, and keeps you on your toes. “Compliment” rounds out the record with the band at their most tight and classic, while showing the most growth in their production and tiny acoustic details.