And if you decide to refuse because that sounds like an exhausting prospect, you’d be partly right. For with Danish quintet Oh No Ono you get the lot, both musically and emotionally, and sometimes all within the same song.
Forget identity and sticking to one style. All this lot seem to be concerned with is cramming as much in as possible, having fun for sure, but multitasking to the point of utter bedlam. Safe to assume all their bedrooms are messy, their record collections strewn all over the place, with Rachmaninov, Human League, the Tom Tom Club and Blondie all stacked in the same pile.
What all this means is a record that could never, ever have accusations such as ‘dull’ or ‘routine’ thrown at it. It’s just that it doesn’t seem to know what it is, where it is or even what time it is. Am I Right captures that in a nutshell, its helter-skelter electro pop unraveling quicker than the listener can say ‘bubblegum’. And yet its closing mantra of “we shall never fight” sticks in the mind.
And that’s where Oh No Ono play their trump card, as their catchiest tunes pop up and snare you at unexpectedly weak moments. None more so than Victim Of The Modern Age, their identity parade. Its chorus goes (deep breath) “Oh no no no no, we are Oh No Ono”. Try singing that as you walk down the street! Of course you can’t without falling over, but it won’t remove it from your head. Insanely catchy, and – this time at least – not annoying.
Elsewhere there are florid piano arpeggios to fool us into thinking romantic thoughts will be the order of the day (The Strawberry Festival). Then the band indulge in hyperactive riffing and taut falsettos (Keeping Warm In Cold Country), exhilarating, fast-paced pop (the rush of Am I Right?) or, in Sunshine And Rain At Once, unexpectedly tender ruminations.
With Talking Lynndie England, the piano arpeggios indicate the album has come full circle – or at least, completed its final bewildering revolution. Such periods of semi-reflection are something the album could do with more of, to reduce the head scratching a little.
Yet if you want something totally different, a record not afraid to wear its entire audio collection on its sleeve, then you’ve found the thing for you. Just don’t say you weren’t warned!