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Published: 2003/03/25
by Dan Greenhaus

GlobalPositioningRecord – The OM Trio

Jazz? Not entirely. Rock? Not quite. Heavy Metal? Kinda. Heavy-Metal
Psychedelic Jazz Rock? Now you’re getting it.
Man, this is good. Real good. And what makes the OM Trio’s latest release,
GlobalPositioningRecord, so good, besides its stunning musical
quality, is
its ability to avoid boundaries and definitions. Whereas other bands’
attempts at the exact same thing come off contrived, the OM Trio pull it off
near-perfectly on the record. In reality, they aren’t really pulling
anything off: This is just how they sound. A stunning blend of genres from
rock to electronica are present on the album, each melding perfectly with
the other, forming a cohesive whole of musically intensive rhythms. That’s
not to say the album is completely perfect, but it’s pretty damn good.
Opening with a brief psychedelic track which serves merely to whet the
appetite of the listener, the band launches right into "L", one of the
strongest tracks on the album. As Pete Novembre’s driving bass and Ilya
Stemkovsky’s steady drum work as a base, Brian Felix lays down dirty melodic
lead lines on his keys before the song moves through its passages with
seamless bravado, despite the frequent tempo changes. And its that
seamlessness which permeates the entire album, no doubt enhanced by the
increased production on this disc, as compared to others by the band. But,
again, where other bands’ albums have suffered from too much production,
GlobalPositioningRecord has just the right amount, allowing the band
shine and their talents to through without being overshadowed.
As the piano-led trio becomes more prominent in our community, it’s
interesting to see how each carve identities. It
would be easy to compare any of them to Medeski, Martin and Wood, mostly
because they were the first (and best). However, it’s clear that OM Trio are
certainly not MMW. And, for that matter, they aren’t The New Deal,
Fred or the 20th Congress either. An entity all unto itself, whatever you
call them, OM Trio are for real and they rock. "Drop Q", the sixth song on
the album, is about as "rock" as anything on the album, aided mightily by
Jason Concepcion’s raging guitar. But, two songs later, on "Demarcation",
the band launches into a hypnotic trance groove that is the complete
opposite of "Drop Q", displaying the bands versatility. It is easy to
picture the throngs of fans dancing uncontrollably and aimlessly to the
latter song, but headbanging to the former, in a true testament to the
diversity of the band, and their album.
Start to finish, the album is about as strong as one could ask for. Putting
out an album that so unabashedly displays your influences is often a hit or
miss endeavor (see Phish’s Picture of Nectar or Lenny Kravitz’s
Let Love
Rule). But OM Trio almost always hits. The album isn’t without its
moments, such as the standard, uninspired groove of "Bulbous" — which,
90% of the rest of the album, could be interchangeable with countless other
bands. But for every moment such as that, there are countless other moments
like "Fives and Sevens", which sounds almost Radiohead meets The New Deal in
the best way possible. As well, not to be missed is the hidden track, "Cult
of Personality". Either way, the listener wins. And with the album, so does
the band.

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