OM Bore On Sub Pop Single (V.3, N.1)

Pretty thrilling when that single arrives in the mail, especially when it’s the first one from the revamped – and fabled – “singles club” version 3.0. Too bad they had to start the proceedings with OM. Not that I’m not a fan, only slightly, but they just don’t seem apropos for kicking off what could be the smartest move the label’s made in years (besides signing Fleet Foxes). For anyone that’s familiar, they’re the discerning splinters of Sleep – the hard to digest stoner doom lords that once made a 90-minute masterpiece (Jerusalem) with one monolithic riff. This duo, who I think have a new drummer, is capable of the same lethargic/transcendent haziness, but across seven measly minutes they barely get off the ground. I nearly fell asleep during side one – a meandering bass line that is equivalent to a teenage doper crawling along with a Geezer Butler instructional tape, while his best friend spent way to much money at Drum Circle for a kit whose pieces he’ll hardly use past the ride cymbal and the floor tom – okay, I’m exaggerating. OM are obviously studied sturm n’ drangers, as they do create an atmosphere, just not one that creates awe.

Only on side two does it get interesting, and that’s in the last 30 seconds. The first three minutes of this flip is exactly the same song, just different – the more reverbed and flanged version. There is a fireworks finale, when the guitars finally warm up and the melodica gets pulled into the magnetic black hole the duo has stirred for the entirety. But then, it duds. The End.

Of course the title “Gerbel Barkal” is in reference to the sacred mountain of Northern Sudan – imagined by the ancient Egyptians as the birthplace of Amon and the rest of his gods. And this exercise is a bit of a prayer and filled with the energy that might come with spiritual beginnings. So this could essentially be a cleansing for Sub Pop – they promised OM the glory that comes with being the first and these two mystery men banged the gong, ditched the medicine bowls, and zoned on bass and drum for the length of a seven inch. Non-instant karma. Sub Pop’s still got eleven months to go.

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