Let me be the first to not be a contrarian as these guys are on the rise. OK GO are good and have an eclectic kitsch-catchy thing going on which works on a simple enjoyment level.
It's not their fault you'll see the Chicago-based quartet's songs all over advertisements, TV and at your local stadium soon.
Or rather, it is.
After the entire album kicked in on rotation last week at VH1.com (because, you know, music on a TV channel for music would just be silly) OK NO was, pre-release, already headed for acclaim and sales. This, their second album is out today.
The guitars are the base to the "power pop", around which everything else hangs onto with a tight grip. There's no mud here - except where planned; there's no "let's break the rules and the speakers" feel here. Not everyone with this sound has to be angry, though I imagine most of these songs played live get amped up and carved up quite a bit.
The album has a (this is meant as a compliment) best-of classic rock sound.
All through the disc there are hints of songs through the ages. The hints are both so obvious or so barely there that I can't, yet pick up on all of them, and won't bore you with a critic-wank list of all that I did notice.
The familiarity includes the very first riff of the lead-off "Invincible", which leads into a beat, an homage if you will to Elastica. There's definitely a "Connection."
"Let the Good Times Roll" comes to mind when "A Good Idea At The Time" first plays. That is, before the guitars come in, necks craned and the band makes the song theirs. Which after all ...
Green Day keeps on being mentioned by those around me who listen to this; but OK GO are better musicians with a greater sense of melody.
"Let It Rain" does what's meant to do - put pictures in your head of sitting in a horizon-busting Wal-Mart parking lot, shopping binge sated, just watching the people out around you. Substitute "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in the chorus at will.
"A Million Ways (To Be Cruel)" is the flavor du jour, and it touches on the acoustic side of the band (Video play here). The leisure, lipstick and laconic lyrics of The Cure are echoed here - and the Cure never sounded so good. OK GO's singer Damian Kulash highlights his balladic vocal chops and guitarist Rusty Ross, mutes his play to a background lull ... aby.