Bad Omens, like most, had a much better 2020 lined up than the one they ended up with. It’s a real shame they had to cancel their first full US headline tour for obvious reasons, but they’ve thankfully scraped together a little something to keep fans going in the meantime.
As its title suggests, ‘FGBGFM Unplugged’ features six tracks from 2019’s ‘Find God Before God Finds Me’ stripped back for a bare bones EP. Some things paradoxically work: it manages a rich depth of sound with barely layered instrumental, it’s rustically soft, and yet it’s a bit too jam-packed with fancy electronics for an unplugged record.
Honestly, the name of this EP might be its biggest gripe, because it really isn’t unplugged. You can trade out electric for acoustic guitars all you want, but if you smear on this much post-productive sound enhancements over the product, it forfeits that title. If you can’t play it in a power outage, it ain’t unplugged. Sorry.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s drop that technicality and try to enjoy the re-imaginings as they are, because they are immensely enjoyable. ‘Limits’ brings a touch of a soft, folky feeling, and ‘Mercy’ comes as a sweet refreshment, thanks to its actually acoustically driven melody. Noah Sebastian‘s tuneful vocals stand out in this and final track ‘If I’m There’ especially.
Only ‘Careful What You Wish For’ sees to show any weakness. With such stripped back renditions of beloved tracks, there’s a risk of it sounding overall a bit wishy-washy as everyone endeavours to achieve that dreamy, subtle sound. Plot twist – even if we go from booming rock to placid tempos, we still want some oomph in there.
It’s inescapable that Bad Omens do like their post-production modifications and amplifications, and on any other record, it’d be welcome, but when you’re going for anything remotely “unplugged”, it’s a perfect time to showcase the raw talent and power behind the music. Any sprinkles of effects and whatnot end up detracting from that result.
Just ignore the “unplugged” title, and appreciate ‘FGBGFM Unplugged’ for what it is: a smashing re-imagining of Bad Omens‘ best tracks from their last full-length album.