Oh-OK

The Complete Recordings

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In all respects, Oh-OK was a footnote in the birth of American indie pop, being a group co-led by Lynda Stipe, the bass-playing sister of the singer in a rather more popular band, and featuring singer Linda Hopper, who would go on to form the likable alt-rockers Magnapop, and guitarist Matthew Sweet. That said, they were a really fun footnote, and the two EPs collected here, 1982's Wow Mini Album and 1984's Furthermore What, are agreeable artifacts of their time. Wow Mini Album, recorded in 1982 before Sweet joined the band, consists of brittle bass-and-drums duets overlaid with Hopper's unique, hiccupping vocals. Where other Athens bands like the Method Actors and Pylon created tense music out of similar materials, Oh-OK's tunes are looser and more playful. The childlike "Lilting" spins an array of giddy puns about home perms over a rubbery rhythm akin to something the B-52's might do; like the rest of the songs, it's barely a minute long, but it's a well-formed and complete song, not a fragment. The four songs from Furthermore What are fuller and a bit more structured, with the opening "Such and Such" the ultra-catchy highlight. The nine lo-fi live tracks mix originals from the EPs with covers that aren't particularly unexpected (the Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning," Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer") or, it must be said, particularly good. Still, The Complete Oh-OK is a find for collectors of the fringes of American indie pop.

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