Sunday, March 15, 2015

Artist: OK Sara

Artist: OK Sara

OK Sara has heard Mumford & Sons, this we know. (There's a joke at the expense of these folk-rock exemplars-turn-scapegoats.) But all that second-hand listening didn't sink in – I mean, at all. OK Sara instead subsisted on a steady diet of Dinosaur Jr. (hear “Feel the Pain” in “Hey”), The Pixies (“Gigantic” and “Where Is My Mind” in “Boyager”), Modest Mouse (“Polar Opposite” in “Moving Castle”; “The World at Large” in “Env Chem”), Bush (“Glycerine” in “Boyager”), blink-182 (“Dammit” in “Boyager”), Weezer (“Death and Destruction” in “Brokly”) and Titus Andronicus (in OK's “Tumblrkrbrzkr”).
OK Sara uses the bass guitar to introduce songs replete with melodic guitar accents and Chicago references. These set up a lyrical cleverness previewed by that Mumford joke (on “Try”): “I'd rather listen to Mumford and Son[s] than another fucking word out of your mouth / Be careful what you're drinking, baby, I don't want you to stain your pretty blouse.” OK Sara turns that scathing indictment inward on “Tumblrkrbrzkr”: “I went through 37 pages of your Tumblr before I realized you're not for me / I'm not in art school / You won't think it's cool / To stay home and watch TNG.”

Just as Mark Hoppus' tale of a young adult fling was leavened with prank phone calls and ADD-inspired TV viewing (“What's My Age Again”), OK Sara mixes and matches both macro and micro elements, with entertainingly original results. To wit, on “Brokly,” after a blissfully lethargic intro that contrasts nicely with the uptempo open of “Try,” OK Sara gets Chicago-lovers all aroused with a loving allusion to the Berwyn/Bryn Mawr Jewel-Osco. Our narrator ditches a bug-ridden produce purchase, expecting the inevitable ants to carry it away. After speculating the ants' queen will just as soon feed on the mites' carcasses as the broccoli, the narrator proceeds to catalog his own concerns, both personal and dietary: “When I die, I hope they don't find me / Don't wanna be eaten, 'cause I doubt that's vegan.” I love that: a concern for dietary purity even in the face of death. (Also behold the macro/micro of interscholastic sports/internet dating on "OKS II": "Coach says I won't win my match / At least I got this match for free.")

With a charismatic vocal, minimalist guitar embellishment, and high-minded lyrics documenting the normal life, OK Sara's Mutt Tracks LP is well worth your time.

*** The author of this review, Arthur Morris, plays the daf for the following band:

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