Okay – Huggable Dust

Huggable Dust

I listen to Okay’s Huggable Dust in the settled down hours of my day. Marty Anderson offers a thin sounding overall presentation (acoustic guitar, voice, light production touches with the synth, organ, etc.). No matter the bells and whistles, the optimism of the melody he’s actually playing shines most vividly. With Anderson’s Daniel Johnston flecked vocal style, one can’t help but conjure an image of a cancer ridden boy singing a “Christmas Carole” because he still can.

Okay has attracted some fans from bands like Deerhoof. Like that schizo band, Anderson also has fun dissembling song elements. He does it with words. On “Nightmare” Anderson volleys up a “What a night…mare to love” in circular verses that weave their own charming spell.

His slim style is reflected in the song titles themselves. All but 3 of the 18 are one word titles, eschewing an indie trend favoring garrulous song titles.

“Loveless” feature an ancient piano that evokes early Walkmen and Fisher Price style piano later that lays claim to Anderson’s own pop music laboratory. The opener “My” is similarly dreamy with floating piano chords and the simple kind of open chord strumming that makes the song seem simple. Anderson sings:

“You’ve got more than the rain/it’s my heart you’ve got/And I start speaking too soon when I look at the moon/A light on your face/And I’m not one to be proud/But I’ll say it out loud/ You own my heart.”

His is a Stephen Merritt kind of ambition, to perfect love. And these opening lines are the driving emotion of an album fit for a light drive to the gas station. Anderson says in another of these love songs that he will write his love a novel tonight. “My,” like the first sentence in a novel, tells us what we are in for, some seriously good natured sap.

The only departure is the sonically adventurous “Half Asleep.” Hypnotic female vocals herald new elements, guitar, bongos, (perhaps) drum machine as Anderson hopes for his love to stay, despite all of his insecurities and reservations. It’s one of those songs so bare and raw that you can’t help but cling on to this words as the track descends into fuzz and dissonance before kind of resurrecting with ritualistic bongos, keys and guitar, reminding one that love sometimes casts a spell as eerie as it is tender and hopeful. This is one is from the heart in all its different shades.