Mike Gordon

OGOGO

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In a measured move to reach well beyond his jam band origins, Phish bassist Mike Gordon offers OGOGO, his fifth and most concise solo effort to date. That's not to say that the versatile New Englander hasn't already expanded his extracurricular forays into plenty of other wild and uncharted territories before now, but with OGOGO he's created something particularly streamlined, pleasingly cohesive, and, more often than not, un-Phishy. Produced by acclaimed Canadian engineer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Weezer, the War on Drugs), the album benefits from a thick, synth-heavy approach that blends quirky new wave elements reminiscent of Talking Heads with the spacy psych tones of the Flaming Lips. Clocking in at a scant two and a half minutes, opener "Equilibrium" dazzles in its own obtuse pop way, setting the bar high for the rest of OGOGO's 13 cuts. Fortunately, there are plenty of other highlights along the way, from the chunky melodic groove of "Up and Down" to the infectious party pop tune "Let's Go." Even the sparsest cut, the dreamy lullaby "So Far Gone," benefits from Everett's strangely layered technique, pairing guitarist Scott Murawski's gentle acoustic strumming and Gordon's airy vocals with a distant yet massive arpeggiated synth line that carries throughout the entire track. Trimming away the excess jams and basing these songs around the resulting inspired nuggets, Gordon and Murawski -- who share a long history of songwriting collaboration -- have landed on a winning formula and, with Everett's bold influence, the stars are in alignment on what is one of the most enjoyable albums of Gordon's career.

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