OK Go going a little bit MGMT on their album is like bacon going a little bit chocolate-covered. Just when I thought their music couldn’t get any more delicious, Hungry Ghosts dropped like candy from a piñata, with a gooey filling of rhythmic distortion oozing out of every track.
I keep latching onto these trippy little moments that could be right out of Oracular Spectacular or Congratulations, and the electronic forays are the perfect step forward for the seasoned alt rockers. “Upside Down & Inside Out” opens Hungry Ghosts with jumbled swells in all the right places that beg you to turn up the volume a few clicks. The song features an irresistibly catchy chorus that trips all over itself at the end of each line, with words like “Upside down and inside out and you can f-f-feel it-t-t-t-t” glitching and flipping like a toy robot.
“The Writing’s on the Wall,” the album’s dreamy, feel-good single, is impossible to listen to without picturing the optical illusions in the masterful one-take music video they released in last summer. But if I tried to name all the standout songs on Hungry Ghosts, you’d be looking at a tracklist. I have to break it down even further, which is easy. There are so many tiny pieces that grabbed me.
The bubbling crescendos in “Another Set of Issues” that fizz over the chorus like shaken soda; the crazed synchronicity of tinny claps and edgy guitar riffs in “Turn Up the Radio;” the startlingly sexy, deep vocals that waste no time launching us into “Obsession.”
“I’m Not Through” has these little Super Mario blips and bleeps that conjure up strings of gold coins and magic mushrooms. The orchestral string parts in “Bright as Your Eyes” morph and squeeze like a lava lamp. “I Won’t Let You Down” is filled with strike-a-pose, clap-along impact moments, and “The One Moment” could be this generation’s “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” All we need is this generation’s Bender, pumping a freeze-framed fist in the air.
The soft syncopations in “If I Had a Mountain” sound like a music box, while the murky wobbles in the very next song, “The Great Fire,” sound like a broken amp. OK Go then takes a bold turn with the closing track, “Lullaby.” The soothing, acoustic melody is totally void of any static insanity, which makes the preceding tracks feel like a wild dream. As far as dreams go, I hope Hungry Ghosts will be a recurring one.