26 year old American lead singer  Cullen Omori decided to break up his indie school band Smith Westerns in 2014 after three remarkable albums ,’Smiths Westerns’ , ‘Soft Will’ and ‘Dye  It Blonde’. Especially the last two releases were excellent indie “creatures”.

His next step?  A solo debut out last March, called ‘New Misery’, released via Sub Pop. ‘New misery’; what an ironic title for this album!  Νo Misery ! None at all!
His solo debut is an absolutely fantastic indie pop/rock album, an imaginary bridge between Mercury Rev, The Apples In Stereo, (latest) New Order, and (more mature) Smith Westerns as well!

Melodic ‘No Big Deal’ which comes first, and the cool ‘Two Kinds’, make us feel restless for what is to follow in the album. Third song onwards, beauty comes along: ‘Hey Girl’ is the first highlight of the album. Bee-buzzing crystal guitars & an awesome melody riff runs into sunny paths between thundering drums— an absolutely fantastic song playing in loop. ‘And Yet The World Still Turns’ flows calmly and peacefully, with a charming atmospheric riff in the centre of the song, an absolute thrill for Mercury Rev & The Flaming Lips fans. ‘Cinnamon’, is the second highlight of the album. Brilliant, with a catchy refrain and an extraordinarily uplifting melody! The feeling of this song reminds me of ‘Seven Stars’ from The Apples In stereo, singing like there is no tomorrow. Next song ‘Poison Dart’ is calm and cool with a beautiful refrain. The next two songs are great too: ’Sour Silk’ is the first song from this album that I heard and presents a unique yet strange riff, difficult to forget, while ‘Synthetic Romance’ starts with a glorious, epic riff surrounded by alarming guitars that changes and becomes so sweet and melodic. After the first refrain we melt into a bridge of awesome, blissful melody. ‘Synthetic Romance’ is what we may call ‘a great song’. ‘Lom’ is another fantastic song: joyful, pretty bright, full of sun and smile. This is the pop we want to make our day.

Cullen Omori’s debut is a perfect example, how today’s pop should sound: INSPIRED. Excellent instrumentation, sparking guitars, uplifting undeniable pop melodies..pure pop, full of bliss..

Much better and more mature than the three albums Omori had released as Smiths Westerns, ‘New Misery’ is a candidate for the best album of 2016, as far as I am concerned— a great surprise! A real pop diamond.

Theodoros Rentesis