OK Go Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
OK Go’s shtick so far has included closely calculated exhibitions of “quirky” and “fun”: songs in videogames, ridiculous outfits, dance routines, viral YouTube clips. The gimmicks were necessary, because ultimately—in spite of a handful of memorable pop songs—there wasn’t much separating the band from other new-wave-revival outfits. But OK Go thankfully seems done with novelty on the mature, compelling, and totally unexpected Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky. Cooler, calmer, and more varied, the record thins out the sharp guitar riffs and cultivates a darker atmosphere in which the band can release emotions other than goofy exuberance. Much of this has to be attributed to new producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT), who has taught the band that songs can still be catchy even if you don’t smile while singing them. And there are a ton of catchy songs here: Almost every track on the album has something that grabs the attention, none more so than the poppy, energetic ’80s-throwback “White Knuckles.” The group pulls off soft and romantic on “Last Leaf,” then hypnotizes with the captivating “While You Were Asleep.” With perfectly executed harmonies, slinky falsetto, synths, and Vocoder, OK Go pouts, vamps, stomps, and shouts through anthems of anger, sadness, and romance. Fun? Not always. But certainly honest.