"You will go into a room together and you will rock."
So promises Tore Johansson, producer of OK Go's sophomore album, "Oh No." And the powerpop band actually manages to do just that: make people rock, with rollicking rockers laced with punk. If a few songs didn't strongly resemble other dancerock bands of the moment, it would be "invincible!"
The album kicks off with two of the best songs on it: the sinuous, muscular "Invincible" and energetic rock-stomp of "Do What You Want." These songs are catchy, rough and gloriously rock-y. Pretty good replay value too -- despite the oft-repeated phrase "come on come on!", vocalist Damian Kulash keeps the sound fresh. "When they finally come to destroy the Earth/they'll have to deal with you first/bet they won't be expectin' that!"
Until about the halfway point of the album, OK Go continues this energetic dancerock sound, churning out one excellent song after another. But it's followed by songs that are a B to the first few songs' A. The last half is not terrible by any stretch, but the second stretch of songs lack that explosive, muscular style in the first.
It's a credit to OK Go's dancerock capability that they can overcome the strong Franz Ferdinand vibes that permeate a few of the songs. They have a musical IT -- they have energy, solid riffs, and they have a vibrant style that makes their music even more entertaining.
Musically, they're very good and polished, with some very solid rock vibes matched up to some entertaining lyrics. They have actually become better since their debut album, downplaying the keyboard in favour of thick mats of guitar and bass. As a makeover, moving from powerpop to dancerock is a pretty inspired one.
Kulash has a rare kind of voice: He can change from a monotone to a howl as if a switch had been flipped, and has a pleasant purr when he's being quiet. He's joined by a quartet of capable musicians, whether it's twisting basslines or rapid-fire drums. And though guitarist/pianist/keyboardist Andrew Ross left during the recording of the album, the sound doesn't suffer.
And this is a case where the deluxe version of an album is definitely worth getting, since the second disc is crammed with goodies. A wealth of music videos, a documentary, making-of, youtube contests, and plenty more that fans will adore. In fact, after seeing this stuff, I actually like the band even more than before.
Ok Go starts to shuck off their powerpop origins, in favour of an energetic dance sound. It has a few uninspired songs, but if they follow the blazing lead of "Invincible," they will only get better.