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Ok Go - Oh No

Ok Go, Oh No

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

CHICAGO quartet Ok Go release their second album, Oh No in typically feverish fashion.

Recorded in Malmo, Sweden, with producer Tore Johansson (Franz Ferdinand, The Cardigans), the album is a leaner, grittier affair than their self-titled debut in 2002 and all the better for it.

Principal songwriters Damian Kulash and Tim Nordwind seem to have developed an uncanny ability to conjure joyous power pop records that are capable of appealing to anyone who gets their musical kicks from the likes of Hot Hot Heat, early Primal Scream and Franz Ferdinand.

Recent single A Million Ways is a classic case in point, built around some genuinely catchy angular guitar riffs, some edgy vocals and a sublime chorus that purports ‘there are a million ways to be cool’.

Certainly, Ok Go have found 13 ways to do so as almost every track on the long-player has some form of merit.

What’s more, the cool vibe surrounding them at present is born out by the fact that the video for A Million Ways – recorded with a budget of just $24 in the singer’s backyard – has now become the most downloaded video ever.

Further album highlights include the gutsy guitar rock of No Sign Of Life, which recalls the raw brilliance of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind?.

The Weezer-style American guitar indie-rock of the foot-stomping Here It Goes Again, complete with its boisterous chorus.

And the clap-happy A Good Idea At The Time, which veers between the classic rock ‘n’ roll guitar style of Primal Scream and the ‘woo-hoo’ melodies of Fountains of Wayne.

Throughout the album, though, there is a tendency to hook you with compulsively simple riffs that get under your skin from pretty much the first moment you hear them.

Crash The Party is a shambolic anthem that recalls the jerky, off-kilter energy of Hot Hot Heat in their prime, while there’s a warm glow surrounding the slightly more stripped down melodies of the softly-spoken Let It Rain.

My personal favourite, however, is the gorgeously chilled out Oh Lately It’s So Quiet, in which Kulash adopts a falsetto style more befitting Lenny Kravitz and delivers a track of pure shimmering brilliance.

Ok Go may lean towards quirky indie sensibilities but their sound is capable of widespread appeal. You’ll be slapping yourself on the head and screaming out Oh No if you miss out on it.

Track listing:

  1. Invincible
  2. Do What You Want
  3. Here It Goes Again
  4. Good Idea At The Time
  5. Oh Lately It’s So Quiet
  6. It’s A Disaster
  7. Million Ways
  8. No Sign Of Life
  9. Let It Rain
  10. Crash The Party
  11. Television Television
  12. Maybe This Time
  13. House Wins