A friendly, familiar voice jumps out of the speakers instructing me to “Turn up the radio and turn off the lights” over a bouncy, synth-driven chorus. This feels like a suitable order for the opening track of OK Go’s new musical venture, Upside Out. The band are perhaps best known for their 2006 hit, Here It Goes Again - known to many, thanks to “The Treadmill Video” which garnered 52 million views on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you do. However, as well as being music video masterminds, this band have got musical talent, as evidenced by their latest EP.
The aforementioned opening track, Turn Up the Radio, feels like a long-awaited welcome back from the band after their 4-year hiatus. However, the time has not changed their music too much as this song feels very much like the bands much-loved older material.
The second track of the EP is The Writing’s On The Wall. Released as the first single from the EP, this track is catchy, though melancholy, and reminds me inexplicably of The Cure (perhaps something in the melody or the slightly more 80s-inspired production). It’s a very heartfelt song featuring the lyric “I just want to get you high tonight / I just want to see some pleasure in your eyes.”
I Won’t Let You Down is a funky and joyful record, and my pick for second single. It is wonderfully 70s, complete with elaborate synth-strings and perfect for impromptu disco dancing - I’ve tested this personally.
The EP ends on an optimistic note with The One Moment. Set in a dramatic and expansive soundscape, front man Damian Kulash affirms that:
This will be the one moment that matters This will be the one thing we’ll remember This will be the reason to battle This will be the one moment that matters.
Perhaps a bit grandiose, and possibly a bit of a 30 Seconds To Mars knock-off, but that track is certainly an uplifting finale.
An EP of catchy tunes, Upside Out holds promise for OK Go’s upcoming album, Hungry Ghosts, set to be released in October. The EP does not really show much exploration of new ground for the band, but will undoubtedly be loved by fans.