OK Go “Upside Out” EP
Ever since their 2002 self titled debut, OK Go has been one of the most visible power pop bands in the mainstream. After the noise pop experimentation and funk on Of The Blue Colour Of the Sky, it’s great to have the band back to form with this new EP.
Damian Kulash and co. are back to making catchy pop with real punch and “Turn Up The Radio” is a great single with its mid tempo hook. But If you’re looking for the standouts its the hypnotic “The Writing’s On The Wall” and the unstoppable dance beat of “I Won’t Let You Down.” Both tracks recall their breakout LP Oh No and its sure to bring you back on the bandwagon. And it just wouldn’t be OK Go without a viral You Tube video.
EXPO “Hydrogen, Helium & Other Songs”
Baltimore alternative pysche-pop band EXPO is the brainchild of Christian Lipski & John Lane. EXPO uses vocal rhythms, harmonies and textures similar to The Beach Boys but to create a totally new sound. The wordless “Up We Go” is a perfect example with its soaring melody lines, and “Like We Do” mixes organ and sparse instrumentation to allow the vocals to build up. “Best Part Of The Day” and “Sun Shower” are pure Wilsonesque magic similar to the textures created by The High Llamas or Matt Mahaffey (Self).
Occasionally the songs don’t stick (“Let’s Grow Something”) but the touching melodies of “Old Friends Don’t End” and “Stars In Our Eyes” proves its not only textures but lyrics that make the song work. I feel a bit more polish would really put EXPO on the map (especially the finale “Paper Trumpets”), but this is a fine intro to their work.The band has 2 other albums on Bandcamp worth exploring.