I'm OK You're OK presents Presents…. Yes, the title is a little awkward for the latest addition to Dream Records, but, then again, nothing on Presents… exactly goes smoothly. Instead of a fun pop rock album full of anthems, Presents… is actually a disappointing, unoriginal project which is lacking in most areas.
From the electric guitar riffs leading the first pop rock track, "Are We All Right Now?", it's clear that I'm OK You're OK comparisons to Paramore and Anberlin are incredibly off base. Instead, the band's music uncannily resembles a less refined version of Run Kid Run. Despite a nice muffled rock sound in the bridge of "Eyes Are Going To Roll," that track and "Stories of Redemption" contain music from what you might expect on a Run Kid Run record. But the virtual cover of Run Kid Run's song "Set The Dial" on "Don't Give Up (Sit By The Radio)" is truly a low moment on the album. The band also draws from other pop rock acts like Hello Kelly on "Robot" which uses lame electronic sounds to propel the musically cliché pop tune. Although there are some quirky vocal twists which are similar to Last Tuesday, I'm OK You're OK's sound is firmly pop rock and not punk.
When Presents… takes a break from its throwback guitar-driven songs, the lighter tracks, "Running In Circles" and "Memories Part II," are rather solid even though both songs are just a little too up-tempo. The most interesting song on the album is "Compromiser" which uses a slightly repetitive alternative sound before shifting to a Run Kid Run "Freedom" style finish. Even though the album contains some hopeful messages, the most lyrically direct and substantive song is "Compromiser" ("Sleep now oh compromiser/I rid myself of all your chains... for now I trust in him who reigns/because there is hope for the hopeless/strength in our weakness").
At its best, Presents… is an upbeat average rock debut. At its worst, the album falls in most every facet, and really leaves much to desire when the short album ends. Although Dream Records managed to make Press Play's debut into a success, it's unrealistic that the label can make I'm OK You're OK any more than a generic release.- Review date: 10/9/09, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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