Have you ever had that moment when you look at your record collection, be it digital or physical, and can not recall why an album exists or a single song from it?
Well, I have, and A-Ok! is one album that falls under that category.
In order to write this review, I had to re-listen to the album. I had initially only decided to listen once because if I could find no compelling reason to pen a review, or keep it in my Apple Music library, then I was determined to delete it. Nevertheless, after the first playthrough, I found myself captivated and played it several more times.
While the Cosmonauts are garage punk at their core, A-Ok! is different. Yes, there are punk elements, but much of the album has a smooth overture that is soothing and allows your mind to drift away. If anything, perhaps it would be correct to class A-Ok! as pop-punk. Regardless, music doesn’t always have to be assigned a specific genre, so join me as I take a look at the album and explain the reasons why A-Ok! will be remaining in my Apple Music library.
A-Ok! opens the album with plenty of energy and you may understand from the get-go why I class A-Ok! as pop-punk. It’s a great song and offers an interesting contrast as the vocal presentation is very much punk-inspired while the musicality is arguably pop-driven. That said, it works, really well!
Doom Generation has a killer introduction. In some respects, I would have loved to have heard Doom Generation open the album, but it flows perfectly from A-Ok! Doom Generation reminds me somewhat of Babylon Zoo; a compliment as Doom Generation is thoroughly enjoyable and gets me moving to the rhythm.
Party At Sunday is the first mellow tune on the album and I absolutely adore it. Sit, turn the volume up, and close your eyes, you won’t regret it as the soundstage will envelop you and hold you there until the very last note.
Be-Bop-A-Loser picks up the tempo significantly from Party At Sunday, but at no time do you feel a jolt to the senses. Be-Bop-A-Loser isn’t overall a bad song, it’s most certainly on the punk side of the album, but it doesn’t necessarily offer anything to write home about. A B-side? Perhaps, but it is A-Side worthy, just not a standout!
Short Wave Communication, however, is a B-Side and a sonic mess.
Heavenspeak is a killer song with an incredible rhythmic presentation; the total opposite of Short Wave Communication.
Good Lucky Blessing is a song that reminds me of U2 and David Bowie. Yes, I know, sometimes my music correlations can be a little left-of-the-centre, but I do love how within a song, or album, I can hear a similarity even if it is completely unintended by the artist. When this happens, I often find myself heading across and listening to the other artist’s catalogue which makes exploring music an incredible experience. All that aside, Good Lucky Blessing is a solid track that works well within the context of the album.
Cruisin’ is a solid song, but you really have to lock in to that backbeat if you’re going to enjoy it as the chorus and overlapping vocals can be a little distracting, thereby temporarily removing you from the experience that is Cruisin’.
Discophilia is probably my favourite song on the album. It is a mellow, guitar-riffing, wonderland with a perfect lyrical presentation and drum track. I could listen to it on repeat indefinitely.
Graffiti is a solid song to close the album on with a killer fade-out that compels me to listen to the album again and explore more of the Cosmonauts growing catalogue of music.
Overall, A-Ok! Is a thoroughly enjoyable album from start to finish and while I will most certainly be keeping it in my digital library, I don’t feel the need to own a copy physically. That isn’t a reflection on the album but more a realisation that I need to cull my physical library a little and ensure that I don’t get every album my heart desires; it can be quite an expensive hobby, can’t it? Plus, the Apple Music edition of the album sounds superb and therefore from a sonic perspective, I’m not looking for anything more. Of course, you never know, I have been known to be fickle and A-Ok! is most certainly good enough that if I came across it while crate digging, I’d likely pick it up.