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3OH!3 “Omens” – Album Review

Atlantic (2013)

Renowned for indulging in the kind of hedonistic electro that makes LMFAO appear shy and retiring bookworms, eternal fratboys 3OH!3 recently announced they were going back-to-basics for their fourth studio album, Omens.

Apart from the absence of any star names a la Katy Perry and Ke$ha, it’s hard to see exactly what the Colorado duo were referring to as the follow-up to 2010’s Streets Of Gold is just as dumb, juvenile and unashamedly trashy as we’ve come to expect from an act whose debut single was titled “Holler Till You Pass Out.” Indeed, littered with groan-worthy pop-culture references, boorish attempts at humour and an overwhelming use of AutoTune, the majority of Omens does little to dispel 3OH!3’s reputation as the musical equivalent of American Pie’s Stifler.

The pair might have been able to get away with Beastie Boys knock-off “Two Girlfriends” and the bratty electro-pop of “Live For The Weekend” when they were of college age. But now that they’re both about to enter their thirties, their continuous adherence to the whole YOLO craze just comes across as desperate and sad. As does the inevitable jumps onto the whole bro-step bandwagon, with the clichéd “Hungover” and bombastic “Eyes Closed” unlikely to be giving Skrillex any sleepless nights.

To be fair, there are a couple of occasions when 3OH!3 appear to realise that they can’t cling onto the last throes of their youth forever. “Youngblood” recalls the summery euphoric alt-pop of Australian quartet The Naked & Famous, while the soaring soft-rock of “Back To Life” could easily be mistaken for an early American Idol winner’s single.

But such moments of clarity are few and far between. Of course, no one expected Omens to be the height of sophistication, but for a record so obviously preoccupied with having a good time, it’s unforgivable that the end result has turned out to be so joyless.

2 / 5 stars     

About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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