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Oingo Boingo - Nothing To Fear CD (album) cover

NOTHING TO FEAR

Oingo Boingo

 

Crossover Prog

4.45 | 21 ratings

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Kempokid
5 stars The second album by 'Oingo Boingo' improves upon their debut 'Only A Lad' in almost every way. There is more variety on it, no longer solely being a ska laden new wave album, now branching out to include more jazzy elements, along with a more varied tone. The songs no longer always have the same contrasting upbeat circus feel and dark lyrics, now including some dark sounding music at parts to complement it nicely. The compositions for the most part are far better as well, with not a single moment feeling like a dip in quality.

From the first song, 'Grey Matter' the band's growing maturity becomes quite apparent, being varied in instrumentation, including a marimba, yet still showing off their incredible strength of being downright catchy and enjoyable hooks and melodies. There are also songs with more prominence of the already wonderful horn and saxophone lines, with the title track being a shining example of this. This song is also one of the best on the album, being incredibly groovy, with smooth saxophone along with a more rock oriented approach, which is quite a nice change after the first half was quite exotic in terms of sound, making this a nice palette cleanser. Other highlights include the manically energetic and dance oriented 'Insects'. which is easily one of the more different songs on the album taking influence from disco or at least a similar kind of dance music. My favourite songs here however are definitely the more offbeat, dark ones, namely 'Why'd We Come' and 'Islands' which show off the strengths of Elfman's writing amazingly, with the intro to 'Why'd We Come' sounding a lot like something that could be found in Nightmare Before Christmas, and 'Islands' being rich in dark atmosphere.

Overall, this is a massive step forward in every respect, with more variety, better instrumentation, and more interesting compositions as well. The themes explored here are generally less overly satirical, but I also find a lot of them to be more enjoyable, balancing out dark themes of what's wrong with the world with songs about dancing on insects, making for a more balanced listen. I consider this to be one of the band's finest albums, and find myself returning to it on a regular basis.

Best songs: Grey Matter, Insects, Islands

Weakest songs: none

Verdict: This is the kind of album that I feel like could be enjoyed by a lot of people, given that it balances between accessibility and experimentation in such a way that it's extremely appealing, and I highly recommend more people to check this album out.

Kempokid | 5/5 |

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