OK Go’s sophomore record is smart and decidedly hip at times; schlocky and conformist at others. At best, Oh No invokes trippier Queen with tastes of Chic, mixes crunchy guitars with Flea Balzary bass – and is outlandishly catchy. Its first single, “A Million Ways,” is a winner, opening with a digital dance pattern that could very well be the band VHS or Beta. The clever lyrics are 100 percent OK Go: “Play that song again / Another couple Klonopin,” followed by “Lipstick and callous / And fishnets and malice.” Smartly integrating prescription drugs and womens’ wear into a song about sketchy lady friends? This is good for them.

OK Go succeeds at finding hooks and throwing in refreshing changes and solos when things move toward the boring side. Unfortunately, for all of their promising boom-boom-tss drum intros, surprising ’50s-style call-and-response series and singer Damian Kulash’s ventures into a pretty, Maroon 5-ish falsetto, a number of OK Go’s songs tend to lag and drag; they end up sounding very similar. At worst, the songs, such as doppelganger tracks “Invisible” and “No Sign of Life,” sound like mid-’90s Weezer and Everclear rejects.

It’s time for OK Go to find out just how far a band can get when they’re fronted by a lead singer with an uncanny resemblance to comedian David Cross. Cross look-a-like Kulash, guitarist Andy Ross, bassist Tim Nordwind and drummer Dan Konopka have been living quite the decent eclectic pop-rock life since 1998. Nabbing the attention of fickle Chicagoans even before their first full-length was released, popping out a radio hit (“Get Over It”) and opening for the late, depressive troubadour Elliot Smith, one would assume OK Go would be garnering buzz for more than just their well-choreographed dance video for “A Million Ways” on myspace.com. With the pleasant Oh No, the guys are closer to a bigger slice of the mediocre indie-pop pie, but Rivers Cuomo and those Playboy Mansion parties are still a little out of reach.

Rating: 2-1/2 out of 5 stars

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