Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Nov 26th, 2014

OK Go: Hungry Ghosts

ok goOK Go
Hungry Ghosts

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Chances are you know of OK Go because the band has been putting out clever, creative music videos for years. It’s a clever method to bring attention to their music, and fourth studio album sees the band strike out into previously unexplored, electronic territory. It’s a risky gamble for a band that broke ties with its major label, but for the most part, it’s a smart choice to make the band’s earworms all the more potent.

Album opener “Upside Down & Inside Out” still has the loud riffs and catchy lyrics that made the band famous so many years ago, but heavy distortion and synth. This is followed immediately by “The Writing’s on the Wall,” the lead single from Hungry Ghosts. The song chronicles the desire to make a lover happy one last time, even while staring down the end of the relationship. Another standout is “Obsession,” with its sexy beat and vocal delivery reminiscent of Prince. Even the cowbell lends itself to the seductive quality of the song somehow.

Despite the highlights, there are a few clunkers here. “I Won’t Let You Down” sounds too much like a Jackson 5 cover to be taken seriously, and “If I Had a Mountain” relies too much on falsetto and synth that sounds like a laser sound effect. However, these tracks are exceptions to the rule. It’s just a shame that they appear on the second half of the album to bring it down after a strong start.

However, “Lullaby” is a wonderful ending and a smart stylistic choice for the band. The acoustic ballad is simple on the surface—softly entreating a lover to sleep and dream in his absence—but it ties together the delicate side of electronica and the band’s guitar roots. Hungry Ghosts may not be a perfect album, but it’s the sound of a band taking risks and still being far cleverer than most peers.

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OK Go: Hungry Ghosts