Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, At War with the Mystics, Black Moth Super Rainbow, bonerama, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, damian kulash, Dave Fridmann, Funk, jazz, MGMT, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, Oh No, OK GO, Releases of the Week, Rock Band, Sparklehorse, The Flaming Lips, TV on the Radio, Weezer
PREVIEW: VISIT OK Go’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
Of the Blue Colour of the Sky succeeds for not just its consistency as an album, but for how OK Go have pulled away from the generic power pop of their self-titled debut and sophomore effort Oh No in favor of a more dance-y, inscrutably diverse sound. The band derided for aping ’00s Weezer have crafted a diverse, synth- and hook-laden third effort — shockingly easygoing, and more fascinating than any other mainstream release so far this year.
What’s most interesting is that while OK Go were criticized for borrowing from Weezer five years ago, they seem to have adapted to trends. OK Go recorded their first two efforts in the early- to mid-2000s while they (along with the rest of us) were inundated with some Weezer’s most gratingly popular singles (“Island in the Sun,” “Keep Fishin’,” “Beverly Hills,” etc.). But what ended up on Of the Blue Colour of the Sky seems more about the last five years than about continuing the thread started with OK Go.
The reverberating drone, guitar noodling and dissonance in tracks like “Needing/Getting” bear more resemblance to TV on the Radio’s “Crying” than anything on Oh No (with the exception of perhaps “A Million Ways”).
Moreover, OK Go have had a lot of time to mess around, and it shows on this 51-minute record. Ten minutes longer than their last two albums each were (excluding the 35-minute “9027 km”), their third may not be as lean, but it also works harder. OK Go bare their teeth with jazz influences and liberal, go-for-broke soloing on songs like “White Knuckles.” They even play the blues-y unrequited-love card on “I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe”. On “Back from Kathmandu” Damian Kulash channels Wayne Coyne, which likely owes something to the fact that Of the Blue Colour of the Sky shares a producer with The Flaming Lips’ At War with the Mystics.
This might give us a hint as to when and how the hell OK Go got so damn good. Whether it was producer Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Sparklehorse, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Black Moth Super Rainbow), the funk-rock work they did with Bonerama, or just time and maturity, “WTF?” was an appropriate title for this album’s lead track. No one expected this from them.
— Eric Vilas-Boas