By: Emily Riemer
Radio-friendly pop bands often struggle to strip bare the trappings and expectations of success and bravely experiment with their sound, but that’s what OK Go does on Of the Blue Colour of the Sky. Leaving behind the band’s ubiquitous treadmill-video gimmick of a few years ago, the new album channels ’80s synth pop, overlaid with Damian Kulash’s Prince-like vocals alongside ’70s rock-guitar riffs and funk, with a smattering of incongruous sound effects. The result, though occasionally bizarre, is a courageous amalgam that gets your head bopping to resoundingly upbeat rhythms and surging bridges, as on the unstoppable “All is Not Lost.” “Back from Kathmandu” thumps against clanging drums, and even the dirt-smudged “Needing/Getting,” with its odd street-noise sound effects, unexpectedly works. Though there are a few missteps, such as the Auto-Tune-affected “Before the Earth was Round,” Sky is an inventive, multi-faceted success.
Treads Worn Thin
By: Justin Jacobs
For its third release, OK Go has created a collection of divisive song sketches instead of an album. Blame the band’s mediocrity, or its treadmill stunts in the “Here It Goes Again” video for rendering the music an afterthought; either way, on the shaky foundation of a clever gimmick, OK Go became a big band without the songs to back it up. What’s worse, they’ve bought into their own hype—they plan to shoot a video for every Blue Colour song, though not a single new track is as good as the band’s most famous single. On this record, OK Go ditches the guitar rock of yore for a funkier post-pop sound, but the grooves feel decidedly thin. Each of the 13 tracks could be a B-side for a different band. Do you like TV On The Radio? Try “Needing/Getting.” Prince? Play “Skyscrapers.” The Flaming Lips? Check out “In the Glass.” Skip buying the album; you’ll see it all on YouTube anyway.