Originally posted on Noise Cannon: http://noisecannon.com/2015/02/16/ok-go-hungry-ghosts/
Let’s start with saying that Hungry Ghosts isn’t a bad album – it is surely enjoyable, however, it’s far from remarkable. Music video geniuses they may be, but OK Go are lacking something despite a very busy-sounding album. The irony is almost sickening.
The initial feeling of this album is “Why, oh, why is there so much noise?” With opening track ‘Upside Down & Inside Out’ crashing around and sounding like a scratched record there is a clear attempt at coming across abrasive, however it is perhaps a step too far and leaves you itching to skip to the next song.
Thankfully it does get a little smoother with an abundance of hazed vocals, ’90s-esque synth pop and underlying grungy riffs. This then progresses into the electro-fuzz-funk intro of ‘Another Set of Issues’, with techno machine sounds that maintain a steady beat to support the soft vocals that bounce lightly over the music. At times there are elements of stripped-back dubstep, but not necessarily the kind you want. It comes across a little dated and the use of video game sounds should have been left behind years ago, if they even warranted a space in music in those days at all.
The boppy and soulful notes of ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ make for a light and cheery number, offering a break to our ears with something easy to get along with. This is when the album picks up – in comes ‘The One Moment’ (that the band desperately needed to save this sinking ship), with strong guitar and those lovely hazy vocals that we appreciated amongst the mess at the start. This is the well-structured and easy going track this album was crying out for. Though very standard there remains a little glimmer of the OK Go quirk, and if this track carries the weight of Hungry Ghosts on its shoulders then so be it. It’s not long however until the band are back at it again, with the following tracks focusing less on the intricate guitar and more on the intrusive noises that make you want to switch off.
Finally, closing track ‘Lullaby’ does what it says on the tin, playing very soft on the ears. Uneasy pitches aren’t a hindrance, more so a marker of the band, adding a splash of diversity reminding you that this isn’t a band that stick to the rule book. Whether or not that always works for them you can be sure they’ll stick in your head.
Overall, despite some saving graces, there is a little too much going on in terms of musical angles, leaving Hungry Ghosts to come across more overblown than anything else.
1.Upside Down & Inside Out
2.The Writing’s On the Wall
3.Another Set Of Issues
4.Turn Up the Radio
6.I’m Not Through
7.Bright As Your Eyes
8.I Wont Let You Down
9.The One Moment
10.If I Had A Mountain
11.The Great Fire