First impressions: 3oh!3 – ‘Omens’

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From time to time we come across posts on smaller sites that we feel are deserving of exposure on a bigger level. Last month we featured Thomas Nasiff’s reaction to Justin Timberlake’s marketing campaign, and today’s post is being reblogged from UTG Editor James Shotwell’s Tumblr. This time around, James recounts his first impressions after listening to an unfinished mix of 3Oh!3’s upcoming album, Omens. Click here to view the original post.

All mentions of Omens are based on a copy of the album that is NOT FINAL. There is 99.9% chance my opinion of the album, as well as the material that makes the final cut, will change before the album hits shelves. Please keep this in mind when considering the opinions expressed below.

March 3 (otherwise known as 3/03) fell on a Sunday this year, so it wasn’t until Monday afternoon that the mailman was able to deliver a care package intended for Under The Gun Review on behalf of pop duo 3Oh!3. The contents arrived in a large manilla envelope, but upon opening the package I found a much nicer presentation waiting inside:

In addition to the package of crackers seen here, this unexpected gift also included a copy of 3Oh!3’s upcoming album Omens marked NOT FINAL in thick black letters. I quickly tore into the snack, but had to wait to enjoy the album because the tech savvy watermark prevented the record from being played on a computer (which I was completely okay with, by the way. Every label should use such techniques).

The next morning came and I decided to spin Omens on my way to the office. I think there is something to be said for an album that plays great in transit, be it through the speakers in your automobile or blasting through your headphones on the subway, great music has a way of making itself known in these moments. It discreetly, yet swiftly steps from the grey of the countless elements of life vying for your attention and draws your focus in (hopefully without distracting you from the task at hand). While I won’t go as far as to say the cut of Omens had this kind of impact on me, there are a handful of songs that prove this too often overlooked duo still have hits left to deliver.

Due to the fact I do not know which songs will make the final cut, it seems wrong to talk specifics at this time. That said, I can say anyone left underwhelmed by “You’re Gonna Love This” or “Back To Life” will likely still find plenty to love on Omens. The overall feel of the record is that of something bigger (dare I say more epic?) in comparison to the group’s previous albums. There are still a number of lighthearted songs and lyrical moments, but there has been an enormous evolution in terms of song structure and instrumentation that, at times, rivals anything on top 40 radio right now.

It’s hard to think this album will take 3Oh!3 back to the level of teen popularity they found on their debut based solely on its progressive sound and themes, but there is nothing wrong with that because Omens is still their strongest effort to date. If you enjoyed and understood the progression on the last album, consider this a must-own.

Omens is scheduled for release June 18.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • 3oh3 fan number one kawaii

    So this band mails you a personalized copy of an album and you pan it as a great record that’s the strongest yet? Lest we forget that this is a band staking its existential claim on the lyrics “if the party is dead / we can bring it back to life / yeah we can bring it back to life / if you listen to the words i say”. How much evolution does it take to morph into the same bombastic sheen of soulless party rock anthems churned out by the Top 40 single mill? Apparently enough to win over this particular reporter. I don’t know what’s worse; the obvious inflation of mindless Top 40 teen rock or the altogether lack of any critical reporting capability.