ARTIST / BAND: Okay
SONG (MP3): My
ALBUM: Huggable Dust
FILE UNDER: Indie Folk
LABEL: Absolutley Kosher
INFO: Huggable Dust is a record about love. It’s not a single undying love but a decade’s worth of songs to different lovers, capturing the emotion at its most ephemeral as well as its most intense.
At first, Huggable Dust seems to be a break up record but it is much much more. It grows and blossoms and touches on so many aspects of the heart: longing, loss, obsession, disagreement, and resilience. As a society, we place great value on romantic, timeless love, going so far as to distinguish it as “true” love. But how many moments are just as poignant if fleeting? Do we feel the same things emotionally in those instants; on the precipices of something we have no idea is doomed? Do those little sparks of human contact, of intimate or infatuating connections make a collective impression on us that enriches our souls? Or is that spark just enough to create great art and great music?
Just as on his debut albums Low Road and High Road (both released in 2005 on Absolutely Kosher), Okay’s Marty Anderson writes and performs his songs with a uniquely kaleidoscopic approach of mixing repetition and variation. This is the language of pop music, of course, but Marty’s songs fold in on each other acrobatically in ways that aren’t always apparent on a single listen. Multi-layered and baroque, dense layers of technological and organic sounds fizzle under gentle pop melodies. Even in the simplest songs, where Marty is playing acoustic guitar, it comes back to a boil.
The lyrics are meditative and repetitive, a bit like mantras, deceptively simple, but like the music, prone to change when you’re not looking. In the song “Natural,” he slowly repeats "I want you" over and over and in the last repetition adds “to be happy". Is this a declaration of desire or resignation? The unique sound of Marty’s voice diverts your attention from just how clever he can be. Maybe that’s why it works so well.
Okay’s sound is transcendent, and their songs really connect with people. This isn’t just hype. The release of this album is the second-most asked about follow-up on the label (behind the Wrens). Low Road and High Road were sleeper hits of 2005, the best-selling release through direct mail order of that year. Several members of Get Him Eat Him, led by bassist Joe Posner, formed an eight piece band (billed as Joe and the Pony Express) and covered “Now.” Deerhoof counts Okay among their favorite bands and members can frequently be seen in the front row of his shows. Athens , GA band Venus is Sinking is recording an EP of Okay covers. Okay fans are among the most passionate we’ve ever encountered.