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Album Review

OK Go, 'Of the Blue Color of the Sky'

January 11, 2010

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After two albums of spunky power-pop, not to mention a couple of goofy dance videos, OK Go might be the last band you’d expect to explore, say, psychedelic funk. Yet on its latest, the foursome collaborates with Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann for some trippy soul-tinged rock experiments that make for a fascinating if somewhat hit-or-miss listen. Though the record boasts the occasional new wave excursion (“End Love’’) or acoustic ballad (“Last Leaf’’), the influence that looms largest is Prince, circa “Purple Rain,’’ from the steamy, falsetto-filled “I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe’’ to the funky shredding on “White Knuckles.’’ On “Sky,’’ OK Go occasionally seems to be trying too hard to distance itself from its pop roots and be taken seriously, switching to a 5/4 time signature on the quirky lead single “WTF?’’ and laying on the artsy guitar fuzz on “Needing/Getting.’’ But when it works, as on the shimmering minor-key lament “Back From Kathmandu,’’ the album delivers some of the band’s most fully realized compositions to date. These guys may be best known for dancing on treadmills, but “Sky’’ shows that, musically at least, they’re hardly spinning their wheels. (Out tomorrow)

ADAM CONNER-SIMONS

Rock
OK Go
Of the Blue Color of the Sky
Capitol
ESSENTIAL “White Knuckles’’