Oh jeez, those treadmill guys are at it again. Still making gimmicky music videos to give an illusion of intrigue, the Illinoisan quartet cease to give up, with the release of album number four, Hungry Ghosts.
With about as much diversity as a British winter, the indie group’s consistency is their only positive. Opening with the purposefully quirky ‘Upside Down & Inside Out’, it’s clear that they’re simply regurgitating their last three albums under a new name. In keeping with their back catalogue, they seem to be paying homage to 80s pop in disappointing fashion, never venturing far from their tried-and-tested formula – the only way they know how to construct a song.
In a move that frontman Damian Kulash believes makes the album “stylistically diverse”, upsettingly simple synth melodies provide the backdrop to many of the tracks, adding little to the album apart from another thing to hate. The only sliver of diversity provided is in final track ‘Lullaby’, which is quite aptly a bare, acoustic bid goodnight. By comparison to the 11 tracks before it, ‘Lullaby’ stands as the best moment of the album. “Best”, however, is being used in a very loose sense.
Perhaps the most upsetting element of the album is Kulash’s obnoxiously twee vocals. His breathy, squeaky verses are so innocuous that they somehow become more unpleasant as the album progresses. His voice, as well as his lyrical content, is a testament to the range, or lack thereof, of OK Go. They’ve found their safe zone, and they don’t seem too keen on leaving it any time soon.
To their credit, it’s incredible how they’ve managed to keep their viral video gimmick going for eight years. Beneath their oh-so-witty mirage lies a collection of uninspiring tracks failing to emulate the success of their breakthrough single, ‘Here It Goes Again’. It’s about time someone sat them down, and uttered into their ears, “Ok, no.”