Paint by Numbers

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If the alternative pop/rock world of the '90s and 2000s has a modern equivalent of Pink Floyd, Yes, or King Crimson, it's Radiohead -- who aren't progressive rock or psychedelic rock in the classic '60s/'70s sense, but have learned a thing or two from the bands of that era. Radiohead aren't simplistic; much like Floyd, Yes, or Crimson back in the day, Radiohead's albums are full of intriguing twists and turns. And a similar approach to alternative pop/rock characterizes Omni's Paint by Numbers, which was produced by Ronan Chris Murphy. Omni clearly shares Radiohead's love of intricacy; this trio is extremely musical, and an Omni song can easily move in different directions. Radiohead is a prominent influence on this CD, as are bands like Floyd and Crimson -- and there are also hints of Nirvana's darkness at times (which is appropriate because Omni is based in Seattle). But Omni has an appealing energy of their own, and they know how to draw on various influences without actually emulating or imitating the artists that they admire. They're Radiohead admirers, but they aren't Radiohead clones. They realize that admiring someone doesn't have to mean becoming an exact replica or a carbon copy. For Omni, Radiohead -- as well as Floyd, Crimson, and Nirvana -- are points of reference but not the quest for the holy grail. Besides, Omni's work tends to have a slightly harder, rougher edge than Radiohead. Paint by Numbers falls short of perfect; some of the tracks are more memorable than others. But all things considered, Omni shows considerable promise on this unpredictable, risk-taking CD.