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.
The songs on OH NO work together best when they are apart. In other words it’s really hard to think of this as a cohesive album but each song stands on its own.
As has been pointed out a few times now by others, with single-song digital downloads, the idea of an album may be passing into the rearview mirror. And filler songs will be duly ignored. So, though the death of the album may be neareth, the quality of music may riseth.
Good evidence of that here.
Even their two-letter brevity, you know, rocks
Can we highlight a new sub-genre – Influence Rock? One that denotes a band that pulls obviously from their influences, but has a 1960s London Soho laid back sense of humor about it all (see their stylings on the CD sleeve) and, synergistically, becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
2. Do What You Want
3. Here It Goes Again
4. A Good Idea At The Time
5. Oh Lately It’s So Quiet
6. It’s A Disaster
7. A Million Ways
8. No Sign Of Life
9. Let It Rain
10. Crash The Party
11. Television, Television
12. Maybe, This Time
14. 9027 Km
Through 9/10 w/the Redwalls * 10/4 – 10/16 w/Brendan Benson 10/31-11/1 w/Rufus Wainwright
31 ::: Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe
1 ::: Portland, OR – Dante’s
6 ::: San Francisco, CA – Café Du Nord
7 ::: Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
8 ::: San Diego, CA – The Casbah
9 ::: Hollywood, CA – The Roxy
10 ::: Tempe, AZ – Big Fish Pub
12 ::: Las Vegas, NV – The Beauty Bar
4 ::: Edinburgh, Scotland – Liquid Rooms
5 ::: Newcastle, England – University
6 ::: Dublin, Ireland – Vicar Street
7 ::: Liverpool, England – University Academy
9 ::: Leeds, England – Met University
10 ::: Wolverhampton, England – Wulfren Hall
11 ::: Nottingham, England – Rock City
13 ::: Cambridge, England – Junction
14 ::: London, England – Shepherds Bush Empire
15 ::: Brighton, England – Concorde II
16 ::: Exeter, England – Lemon Grove
31 ::: Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
1 ::: New York, NY – Beacon Theatre