When I first heard Huggable Dust I thought it was the new Electric President, as they’ve got a new album out soon. The pop is filled with those lovable electro beats and the vocals are equally as gravely, if not more so. But Okay adds a female vocalist here and there that really sets the band apart. They also keep their tunes short, allowing for more; this album hits a high with 18 songs, yet unlike most albums with high track list numbers the listener never once is let down or left bored.
Where Electric President fits pop to a T and often draws comparisons to the Gibbard / Tamborello project The Postal Service, Okay does not. Huggable Dust has plenty of pop moments, but it’s much more folky and minimal, sometimes narrowing a song to a simple plucked acoustic guitar melody with some minor post-production tweaks. A perfect example of this comes toward the end in “Already”—Okay often opts for one-word song titles. “Already” finds the band in its more minimal element.
In “My”, main Okay member Marty Anderson repetitively croons You are / My heart between verses; the song is the perfect opener for both Huggable Dust and that next mix-tape for your special someone. Songs like “My” and “Natural” show that Anderson is great at writing upbeat pop songs, proving that a gravely voice doesn’t have to be sad, even though it may sound it. “Tragedy” and “Nightmare” are surprisingly upbeat—though in both the lyrics are not nearly as so. Overall, Huggable Dust is just that: huggable. The album is pleasant and peaceful, yet more than interesting enough to make you give a damn.
This review was originally published June 18, 2008 on the old version of FensePost.
Absolutely Kosher [CD, 2008]
16. Huggable Dust