Mature and creativeOK Go - Oh No
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 24, 2005
Review by Andy ArgyrakisAnyone around Chicago has probably caught OK Go playing a club by themselves, performing at a festival or opening up for someone even more established. But thanks to a record deal with Capitol and a relatively praised self-titled CD in 2002, the group's gone well beyond local band status to become a national act worthy of respect and acclaim. Though the guys played on the indie circuit long before they got signed and they were still working out some kinks with the official label debut, it's never been hard to gravitate towards the gang's aggressive pop prowess, mixture of power chords, monstrous hooks and wry lyrics.
Not only do those trends return on Oh No, but the group seems to have beat the sophomore slump with additional maturity and creativity. Rather than shooting for MTV commercialism or watering down their songs to reach a younger audience, the band's remained committed to merging the worlds or The Cars and Weezer with elements of garage rock and biting alterative rhythms. Much of those decisions came under the prompting of producer Tore Johansson, the in demand innovator known for his work with Franz Ferdinand. Together, those involved stripped aside most shades of gloss and glimmer for a gritty, gusty outpouring. "A Good Idea at the Time" takes the most memorable elements of classic Ric Ocasek and company put through a 60s rock and roll time machine. Other vintage nods include the militant stomp of "It's a Disaster" and the grimy basement blues of "Television Television."
Radio tailored cuts like "Do What You Want" and "A Million Ways" are surprisingly still brimming with legitimacy and integrity, while "Invincible" is testosterone infused craziness at its ultimate smoke infested high. Though "Let It Rain" fairs a little lower on the intensity totem pole (it is after all a delightfully melodic ballad) it highlights' Damian Kulash's charming vocals and witty lyricism. Perhaps the best example of satirical songwriting comes throughout "Crash the Party," which cuts through a sea of clichéd celebratory aids. Lines include "You're not the prettiest girl in town and I'm not the only boy with sullied clothes and a sullen frown. So to hell with Valentine's, to hell with perfume, to hell with chocolates and picnics and Sinatra tunes." It's all enough to indicate OK Go has a future well beyond this record while marking Oh No as an exceptional follow-up volume to its original high-octane chapter.
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