January 14, 2010

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OK Go, Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
Capitol Records, Jan. 12

The number of improvements of this album over 2005’s Oh No is more than enough to justify the five-year gap between records. Oh No and its overload of breathless metrosexual-bait posturing certainly didn’t portend much more than a jacked-up 88 with megaphones and politically safe, pretty much phony ’tude, so it’s doubly surprising when this new thing comes flying at you like a rabies-frothing Dandy Warhols and you can’t hit Eject until it’s played through a few times. “Oh Lately It’s So Quiet,” from the 2005 LP, is the most biologically close ancestor of most of this album’s sound; along with the Prince was something grungy and muddy rumbling underneath, which eventually grew up to be the Melvins-style bass and Raveonettes/Norman Greenbaum skronk spread liberally over this set. The biggest shock is probably “This Too Shall Pass,” a fusion of Raspberries and Glasvegas with all the inherent mud and crazy-ass-good ’60s catchiness you’d expect from such a thing. Also terrific is “Back From Kathmandu,” lathered up with Stomp-style found-percussion, someone bashing a metal door or something to compete with the Led Zeppelin drums. There are issues: “I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe,” for one, is a filler piece in comparison to the others; some will tut-tut “WTF?” as Klaxons For Dummies; and vocoder peeps in here and there, a sound that should be banned for life. Whatever. But this year, quite honestly, I don’t see how alt-rock could get noticeably better than this. A-EWS