Ok Go dropped their first album a couple years back and in the past two years have toured all over the globe and cultivated an even larger name for themselves. After the relentless roadtrip, they hunkered down and wrote over fifty new songs, many of which got rejected. The demos of their newest tracks caught the ear of Swedish producer Tore Johansson (who produced Franz Ferdinand's debut album and several Cardigans hits), and the group met up with him and recorded the thirteen cuts that comprise their follow-up release Oh No.
Although all of the above was fine and good, it was the lo-fi backyard dance routine video for their first single "Do What You Want" that has really helped give the group a headstart with this release. Shot with a minimal budget on a digital video camera, the highly choreographed video found the four members of the group dancing in rather hilarious ways to their newest single and spread around the internet like the viral marketing that they were likely hoping for.
Although the press release of the group makes note that Johansson was a bit crusty with his dislike of "American slickness" in rock music, it's sort of interesting to note that Oh No is indeed about as slick as they come. It's true that the guitars sound juicy and the vocals in large part have a sort of overcompressed feel that worked for groups like The Strokes, but there isn't exactly a rough feel (despite a lot of cowbell) on the release. The first single on the album is pretty darn catchy, as well as the great "It's A Disaster," but in large part the album works the same sorts of dynamics over and over again. "No Sign Of Life" opens with some strummy acoustic guitar, but soon launches into overwhelming riffage and screaming vocals that turn it into another power pop track while "Here It Goes Again" unfortunately sounds like the victim of its own title with fairly standard chord changes and yelping vocals.
When the group strays from their more straight-ahead style, they actually turn in some decent variety, as on the cheeseball "Oh Lately It's So Quiet" and with the simmering and more understated "Maybe, This Time." In terms of overall sound and cohesion, it's a step up from the debut by the group, but it's almost clinical in precision and slightly numbing with riff after riff blasting away with the same sort of glossy production. Interesting at times, ignorable at others, Oh No is for those who like their rock with plenty of sheen.