AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
 
O.A.R. - King Album Cover

O.A.R. - King

Reviewed by
9.0
O.A.R. - King
Record Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: August 2, 2011
O.A.R. has a new album? Did you know? Apparently a lot of people did, but I didn’t. That’s probably something I shouldn’t admit as a guy who runs a music website, but whatever. It’s not typically the music I cover, despite that I have thoroughly enjoyed O.A.R.’s previous releases. The band has been able to consistently put out solid pop-rock jams over the years, all while growing as musicians with each album. How? I don’t know, but it’s damn impressive. I’d like to throw in a dramatic “oh, will they change again?!?!?!?!” line, but if you look at the genre’s that this album is listed under in this review, then the answer is obvious.

The album kicks off with the title-track which brings in multiple different sounds right off the bat for O.A.R. Like what, you may ask (or maybe not)? Regardless, I’ll inform you: turntables, horns, almost-rapped-vocals are introduced into this song, but they’re all mixed together rather well. The next track “Taking on the World Today” continues the up-lifting vibe that is set with “King” with an almost John Mayer vibe introduced, but…slight trumpets for an old-school jazz feeling.

It’s never been a secret that O.A.R. are fans of reggae music, which is highly evident with tracks like “Not for Me” and “Are You Low?” that are both driven by reggae influenced guitars and instrumentals. But something much more obvious is all of the ska influences; which has horns, keys, etc featured on over half of the songs on King. It’s obvious that O.A.R. wanted to create a great end-of-the-summer pop album with 311 influences, and I think they actually managed to do it. I wasn’t too happy about it at first, but it does grow rather quickly, and turns out to be enjoyable.

“Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes” is the first song that kind of has a throwback O.A.R. feel to it, and could easily be the band’s next hit. The lyrics are a highpoint on the album with this song, but it’s hard to notice with the stellar production and mixture of the different instruments, but lines like “Show me how you really feel//and make it all go disappear//we can dance into the night//come together and we’ll make it right” are still well-appreciated in this mix of reggae and pop for O.A.R. The band go back to a reggae-esque feel with the psychedelic guitars and horns in “The Last Time” before returning bigger and better in terms of straight pop-rock with “Fire.”

“Gotta Live” shows O.A.R. returning to the uplifting lyrics, and while they aren’t groundbreaking, it certainly gets the bands point across; live like it’s your last shot. It has another reggae feel to it with the guitars, before busting out into the massive, catchy chorus. “Almost Easy” follows the same suit - reggae feel with intricate guitar lines. Normally this would become a problem, as I was never a huge fan of reggae, but they can mix it with their own style, so it’s fairly enjoyable.

The album closes with “Over and Over” and “Back to One,” which are both more piano-based. The former is nothing but a stripped-down piano ballad, which is always welcome from a band like O.A.R. because they’re always able to do it well. “Back to One” is a solid pop-rock jam that’s highly reminiscent of something the Fray would do. The song is also another up-lifting song from O.A.R., which is obviously nothing new on this album; “Don’t look back, you’ll never find your way//there’s a million different people who break the same way//when everything has come undone, we gotta bring it back to one” being the highlight of the song.

If you’ve looked at the track-listing, or just know, then you’ll have noticed that I skipped over the interludes, simply because I can sum all three of them up with the following word: reggae-ska. That’s basically what all of the interludes are, paving way for smooth, calm, relaxing interludes.

To end this long, long review; O.A.R. are back with a new album, but it’s not something familiar for them. It struts into new territory, as well as familiar territory, but no matter what; it’s catchy. O.A.R. have crafted some of their finer hooks on King, and there’s potential for multiple songs to be hits. If you’re a previous fan of O.A.R., this album may take some time, but I promise it’ll grow on you.

Recommended If You Like 311, In Between Now and Then, Stories of a Stranger

Official Myspace
This review is a user submitted review from fuckyourscenes. You can see all of fuckyourscenes's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 8 of 8
08:11 AM on 08/25/11
#2
agl
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
agl's Avatar
Highly disappointing album for me. Aside from a handful of catchy songs (which all sound much better live), this album falls flat. I guess I just feel like their progression has pointed them towards mediocrity, the new songs just aren't memorable. I personally have always found their albums to be hit or miss, lined with a good mix of memorable and forgetable tracks, but "King" just doesn't have those stand-out tracks. It's not the worst album ever, but not as good as "All Sides."
09:23 AM on 08/25/11
#3
Just An End
Can your walls hold a gorilla?
Offline
User Info.
Just An End's Avatar
I love this album and hope that their future albums go more towards the reggae-influenced sound. As a huge O.A.R. fan, I do miss their older records where they were predominantly a jam band. However, I know those days are long gone and I'd much rather have albums like King instead of mediocre pop/rock albums like All Sides (mostly).

Best tracks: King, Not For Me, Are You Low?, Fire

BTW, the bonus tracks are definitely worth a listen. "Give Me Somthing" has a lengthy jam at the beginning that definitely brings back memories of an O.A.R. that once was.
10:54 AM on 08/25/11
#4
allisterkid
here since blink fansite
Offline
User Info.
allisterkid's Avatar
Is this seriously good? I have not even remotely enjoyed a studio album since In Between Then And Now. I may check it out, but even after your review my expectations are low. Love old O.A.R. though.
12:24 PM on 08/25/11
#5
fuckyourscenes
www.fuckyourscenes.com
Offline
User Info.
fuckyourscenes's Avatar
Is this seriously good? I have not even remotely enjoyed a studio album since In Between Then And Now. I may check it out, but even after your review my expectations are low. Love old O.A.R. though.
It's definitely more towards that style than their recent pop-rock style. I'd say you should definitely check it out, though!
12:27 PM on 08/25/11
#6
fuckyourscenes
www.fuckyourscenes.com
Offline
User Info.
fuckyourscenes's Avatar
I love this album and hope that their future albums go more towards the reggae-influenced sound. As a huge O.A.R. fan, I do miss their older records where they were predominantly a jam band. However, I know those days are long gone and I'd much rather have albums like King instead of mediocre pop/rock albums like All Sides (mostly).

Best tracks: King, Not For Me, Are You Low?, Fire

BTW, the bonus tracks are definitely worth a listen. "Give Me Somthing" has a lengthy jam at the beginning that definitely brings back memories of an O.A.R. that once was.
I agree completely.

I haven't checked out the bonus tracks yet, but I definitely will now. Thank you!
07:44 AM on 09/16/11
#7
comeonpilgrim22
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
loving the new O.A.R. stuff. so good to see them back making music. been listening to "heaven" nonstop: http://itunes.apple.com/us/music-vid...en/id460598224
10:44 PM on 09/22/11
#8
awkif
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
awkif's Avatar
loving the new O.A.R. stuff. so good to see them back making music. been listening to "heaven" nonstop: http://itunes.apple.com/us/music-vid...en/id460598224

me too! "Heaven" is one of my favorites, check out the behind the scenes vid.. love it! http://youtu.be/Nao2s2rqbLg

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
UnderTheGun
Purevolume
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate