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February 04, 2004

Island in the Snow

Every once in a while, you just have to hoist yourself up by the bra straps on a Tuesday night and go to a rock show with every 19 year-old in Boston. It's all the more authentic if you don't even make it home at night, crashing with a friend who lives fabulously close to your office, surviving Wednesday on no more than a borrowed sweater and moisturizer.

But it's all worth it if the rock show features the infinitely huggable boys of Ok Go. You seriously want to wrap these guys in iridescent pink ribbon and give them to your sister as a high school graduation present (Girl-E doesn't have a sister, but the analogy still holds). The band would be indisputable front-runners to pick up the mantle of Weezer, if Weezer were past their prime. Fortunately, Weezer is not past their prime, meaning there is now just more creamy zingy key lime pie alternative pop to go around.

Lead singer Damian Kulash is so unpretentiously adorable, that he'd get plenty of panties thrown at his feet even if he didn't have a pleasing, versatile voice, solid guitar skills and an earnest but playful stage presence. It's refreshing to see a vocalist who can rock on driving lead lines and then float seamlessly into falsetto at just the right times. The other band members, particularly bassist Tim Norwind and Andy Duncan on keys and guitar, do their part to add unique, spot-on backing vocal harmonies. It's a bit like if Cake tightened up the backing vocals and knocked them up a register. While they are all excellent musicians, there is no needless showboating-- the guys have no problem taking turns dropping their instrument and picking up the tambourine.

In addition to the guys' appeal, the songs are great, and clearly a product of their admiration for the brainy fun-house style of They Might Be Giants (and they in fact boast John F. as their manager). During the teenage love song "It's Tough to Have a Crush," Damian invited singles in the audience to volunteer for an on-stage slow dance. After thoughtfully asking the first volunteer whether he was "a ladies' man or a guys' man," and learning the latter, Damian limited the partner selection process to boys. The pretty-faced but presumably straight college boy who volunteered, and his lucky partner, could not have made a cuter couple.

While undeniably gimmicky, the band's encore of an impersonated boy-band dance to a recording of their song "C-C-Cinnamon Lips" was none the less hysterical and appropriate. An obvious mockery, the finale still paid due respect to the fact that cheesy as it may be, there is a reason people like to watch cute boys getting their groove on in synchronization. We have a feeling that if it didn't have such a self-idolizing and agonizing connotation, Ok Go would not hesitate to embrace the Boy Band moniker.

We definitely recommend you pick up a copy of Ok Go's self-titled CD on Capitol Records, and check their website for tour dates near you. Don't forget to bring the pink ribbon.

Posted by The Twins at February 4, 2004 11:38 AM

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hmm, seeing as how i love all three of the big bands you mentioned, i should check these guys out! what a great description!

Posted by: kat at February 5, 2004 02:13 PM

Very nice blog

Posted by: Viaggi e Vacanze in Islanda at March 24, 2004 12:33 PM