Cullen Omori's path to his second album The Diet wasn't an easy one. After the release of his first album, New Misery, he had to deal with busted vans, crashed cars, mangled relationships, and other trials that can leave one feeling like the world is playing a cosmic joke. From the guitar that drops out of the sky on the opening track "Four Years" all the way through the fade-out of kaleidoscopic closer "A Real You," The Diet is a powerful modern indie-rock album that is buoyed by warped, analog pedals/transistors and tailor-made guitar tones. Omori's winsome vocals crisscross 70's art rock and classic songwriting all within the span of 40 minutes.
Recorded with Taylor Locke, Omori crafted The Diet as a series of what can loosely be defined as love songs that metaphorically channel the frustrations and ruptures of his turbulent 2016-2017, into unforgettable compositions. The Diet is lovingly constructed yet not fussy, with Omori's wail soaring over the latticework guitar of the omnipresent "Master Eyes" and following the vintage humbucker riffing on "Natural Woman." "Happiness Reigns," a charming slice of powerpop with lyrics that combine fatalistic imagery and a wide-eyed apologia to a woman, is perhaps the closest Cullen gets to the classic love-song ideal. "Reigns" was inspired by Omori's current girlfriend and brings the love song a la Beatles or Rolling Stones "into the 21st century."
The Diet represents a new chapter for the former Smith Westerns member, one in which he stretches out his songwriting chops and uses his life experience to craft loose-limbed, hook-filled songs that combine pop appeal with finely sutured lyrics.