Reviews Music OK Go — Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky

OK Go — Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky

Tags:
OK Go - Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
OK Go — Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
Capitol Records; 2010
13 Tracks; CD, LP, Digital Download

 

Review by: Whitney Pineault

Even if you are not a fan of OK Go, you have to give these guys some credit. They are one of the most hard-working, socially conscious bands out there today.

After the release of 2005's Oh No, along with Grammy Award winning and internationally adored choreographed treadmill dance video for “Here We Go Again”, the band spent a grueling 31 months on the road. Despite a hectic touring schedule, OK Go were determined to aid fellow musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Sales from their collaborate EP with New Orleans based horn-rock orchestra, Bonerama, supplied the majority of funds used to purchase soul legend Al Johnson a new home. But getting back to the music, frontman Damian Kulash Jr. (vocals, guitar) says it best, “Our whole bag is having good ideas and making cool shit.”

Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, the band's 3rd studio album, shows a more serious electro-rock side to OK Go. Produced by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT), and named after a book from 1876 promoting the nonexistent healing powers of blue light, the album is a collection of dimensional, spontaneous, and upbeat yet emotional songs.

First single and opening track, “WTF?”, illustrates the band's admiration for Prince. A hushed falsetto, dry guitar, and lustful energy will catch listeners off guard as it is very unlike the OK Go from 2005. “This Too Shall Pass” follows and offers a glimpse of what used to be with its simple, catchy melody and pounding drums. Unfortunately, the song is by no means as memorable as previous hits “Get Over It” or “Here We Go Again.” The accompanying video however, is quite the gem (would you really expect anything less?). Shot live in a single take, it features a charming mix of marching band musicians, instrument toting grass creatures, kids running around with ribbons, and fantastic purple uniforms.

“White Knuckles”, a fun, dance driven track with a killer guitar solo marks the album's highpoint. It proves the band can completely reinvent their sound and still hammer out a hugely catchy pop song. It's just a shame that the rest of the album isn't as strong. “Last Leaf”, a short and very sweet acoustic ballad feels a bit out of place here and really demonstrates the lack of consistency within this album.

The issue with Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky is the amount of seemingly borrowed content. With “Needing/Getting” OK Go rip a page right out of TV On The Radio's Return To Cookie Mountain, and the bass groove in “I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe” sounds surprisingly similar to that of Franz Ferdinand. Prince's influence has already been mentioned but can be heard yet again on “Skyscrapers.” It is understandable that OK Go did not want to repeat themselves this time around, but aligning their musical style with the work of others may be a symptom of focusing too heavily on the visual aspect of their work. Their off-the-wall videos are currently the main source of originality (and for that they deserve accolades), but it would be nice to see them revive their own distinct sound in future recordings.

[Editor's Note: Damien recently published an opinion article in the NY Times entitled "WhoseTube?" that discusses viral music videos and record labels. It's a really good read for anyone interested in the music industry. The article was based on his Open Letter posted in the OK Go Forum back on January 18th. ]