Sated Fan – Fran’s Review

Hungry Ghosts is just about what I expected from OK Go’s fourth album. This is a solid pop-rock record with a few moments of flair.

The fractured sound of opening track Upside Down and Inside Out is a great match for the album art, and establishes the style of the rest of the record. Hungry Ghosts is less rocky than OK Go’s previous output, drawing extensively on electronic genres. The dubstep-inspired synths on Another Set Of Issues and The Great Fire are an interesting new sound from the band, while the equally synth-heavy opening to Bright as Your Eyes is reminiscent of the last album’s WTF. 

Fans of the older style needn’t worry – this record still has plenty of classic OK Go pop-rock, with their guitar-based roots coming through on tracks Obsession and The One Moment. However the album definitely has a lower concentration of jump-around-the-kitchen-dancing tracks compared to previous offerings. Maybe the band are just tired from all the dog dancing!

★★★☆☆

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Just OK – Dave’s Review

You know what you are going to get with OK Go, and their latest offering Hungry Ghosts is no different. Solid pop rock with a hint of funk, some catchy choruses and smooth singing from Damian Kulash.

The album starts brightly with the loud chorus & quiet verse Upside Down & Inside Out, which has a strong Flaming Lips feel about it. This is accompanied by pleasant lead single The Writing’s On The Wall, complete with trademark elaborate video. Turn Up The Radio and Obsession continue the bouncier, more lively and in my opinion stronger half of the record.

As with their previous release, Of The Colour Of The Sky, the album slows greatly towards the end, with songs like The Great Fire and Lullaby, as this weaker, sleepier style seems to contrast with the crazy, fun-filled, confetti flying show I remember seeing them a few years ago.

★★★☆☆

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Hungry for OK Go

In a Musical Adventure first, this fortnight we will be reviewing an album the week it comes out! YouTube darlings and live show pros OK Go release their latest offering Hungry Ghosts on October 14, but those in the know can stream it in advance here. OK Go’s strength has long been their innovative presentation of their music, and they have already released the first  intricately rehearsed video to go with this album. But the music itself is usually worth a try too, so Dave and I will be listening to Hungry Ghosts until Sunday 19 October.

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OK Go - Hungry Ghosts

Each fortnight Fran and Dave choose a new album to listen to. We write about the genre or artist during the fortnight, and post our reviews on Sunday. Want to join the musical adventure? Subscribe by clicking the link in the sidebar to get an email every time there’s a new post.

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Alvin, Simon, Theodore! (and Twigs) – Fran’s Review

LP1 by FKA Twigs took a bit of getting used to, but throughout the two (and a half – sorry Dave!) weeks I’ve been listening to it, it has definitely grown on me. The other thing that gradually grew on me was the realisation that this album is filthy! The delicate vocals are in such contrast to some of the lyrical content that it takes a while to realize what’s going on.

There are some great tracks on LP1, including single Two Weeks. However, it’s more interesting to discuss the weirder moments like Closer, with its strange juxtaposition between echoey ecclesiastical-sounding vocals and the grating tones of Alvin and the Chipmunks. I’m not sure what FKA twigs was thinking when she decided to add the insane squeaking to an otherwise exellent track, but I can only assume that it was the same momentary lapse of judgment that lead to her relationship with teen dream R-Patz! Only joking – I’m sure Rob’s a lovely fella.

★★★★☆

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Little Twigs is flourishing – Dave’s Review

Like her live performance, LP1 by FKA Twigs is a sexy and enjoyable experience.

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FKA Twigs in Birmingham

Fitting with fellow Young Turks band the XX, her music has a minimal style, where silence and patience are as much instruments as the bass and drum pads. The music is almost entirely percussive, yet gentle, with clicks, taps and pauses. The album is well structured, flows well and maintains a consistently high level of quality, right through until final song Kicks.

FKA Twigs’ soft, seductive singing style blends R&B, soul, pop and hip hop, while Preface and later Closer share a choral spirit. It is slow and her words are often direct, as in the dirty, lusting lyrics of Two Weeks, my highlight of the record: “I can fuck you better than her”. “Was I just a number to you?” is the resounding question asked in Numbers, a more dancey ‘number’ which label-mates Jamie XX and SBTRKT would be proud of.

Live on Friday, FKA Twigs was equally compelling, wailing her arms around between verses, showing glimpses of her previous work as backing dancer for Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and Kylie Minogue. Her dancing can also be seen in some of her excellent videos, which of course she often directs too because let’s face it, along with her celebrity boyfriend and Mercury Prize nomination, this woman has it all.

★★★★★

 
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Sprouting New Branches

I’ve just been invited to a gig, to see FKA Twigs in a couple of weeks, so gracing our iPods this fortnight will be her debut record, LP1, which was released only last month on Young Turks (label of the XX, Sampha and SBTRKT).

As I mentioned, FKA Twigs is currently touring the UK, so why not catch her live? (She’s playing Hackney Empire Wednesday 8th October, Fran).

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs – LP1

Each fortnight Fran and Dave choose a new album to listen to. We write about the genre or artist during the fortnight, and post our reviews on Sunday. Want to join the musical adventure? Subscribe by clicking the link in the sidebar to get an email every time there’s a new post.
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Bushcraft – Dave’s Review

Hounds of Love by Kate Bush starts very strongly with the classic Running Up That Hill. The softness of the soldier drums and keyboards allow Bush’s dramatic singing style to take centre stage whilst the calmness of the music provides a gentle introduction to the album.

This is followed by the catchy single Hounds of Love with its sweeping, powerful delivery contrasting nicely with the cheery ‘do-do-do-do-do’ backing vocals. The crashing drums and strings help make this my highlight of the record. The Big Sky is another catchy tune, driven by a Talking Heads-like rhythm, through a gospel choir by someone with the youthful energy of Björk.

Things mellow sharply with the much slower Mother Stands For Comfort. Unfortunately I find the shift from such a lively opening section too abrupt, disrupting the flow of the record. Cloudbusting would have followed much more smoothly.

It is in the middle of the album where the experimental and artistic nature of Bush’s writing comes to the fore. The radio snippets that intercut the beautiful piano-based Dream Of Sheep are taken to another level in the rather odd Waking The Witch, which begins with a dreamy range of whispers to wake up before suddenly bursting into a roaring nightmare. Things get more varied with the Asian sounds of Watching You Without Me and the Celtic Jig Of Life, which builds to some Pet Shop Boys-style speak-singing.

Overall this is an interesting album that takes a while to get your head around. The opening few songs are very accessible, cheery pop, however the second half of the record is more dramatic and experimental, full of a range of styles and influences. Themes of sleep, dreams, birth, life and death run through the record, all delivered in Kate Bush’s theatrical and wonderful voice.

★★★★☆

 
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