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Oh No Oh Where Oh Where Is OK Go?

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 8, 2005 5:13PM

Chicago can be a cruel habitat for local bands that make it big. Just look at how quickly folks turned on The Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill and Liz Phair as their careers progressed. Okay, Phair deserved the hostile response once she started to seriously suck but that’s beside the point.

2005_09_okgo.jpgOK Go jumped to head of the backlash pack with the release of their Major Label debut a few years ago. You couldn’t open a magazine or newspaper without reading an article about the group and how they had “fine-tuned” their sound for the Majors and how that “fine-tuning” basically ruined all that was unique or special about the group in the first place. Considering the band rose to prominence through numerous shows at the Indie temple that is The Empty Bottle it seemed a little odd that the response to their success would be so vitriolic locally, but it was.

The group more or less disappeared from the public eye in the last year or two, surfacing to play an occasional local gig to small but exuberant crowds, and this tactic seems to have helped and hindered them at the same time. They just released their sophomore effort OH NO a few weeks ago and it is leaps and bounds ahead of the debut. Actually, it’s more a step back as the band has re-embraced its quirkier pop inclinations and has left behind the studio gloss that hermetically sealed the last disc. The music jumps and delivers a number of TKOs with hooks galore rippling along the surface. In short, the album is a pretty awesome little piece of slightly scruffy power-pop.

On the flip side nobody knows about it.

Chicagoist had braced itself for another deluge of press, at least locally, surrounding OH NO but instead we have largely heard the sound of so many pop music critical crickets chirping away oblivious, for better or for worse, to the group’s latest effort. Chicagoist is a firm believer in bad press being far better than no press so we understand that this situation must be a rather confounding predicament for the band. OK Go seems to have actually taken the critical backlash following their first album and applied the commentary that ensued in a constructive manner, the end result of which is a vastly improved sound however now that they’ve done that they can’t seem to get anyone’s attention at all!

Some folks just can’t win, can they?