Music » Critics' Picks

oh my god

9 p.m. Friday, September 25. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street.

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Fifteen years ago, oh my god would have had it made. With its power-pop smarts, stacked harmonies and recurring lyrical gravitas, the Chicago quartet could have sidled up next to fellow sensitive popsmiths Counting Crows, Ben Folds Five and the Gin Blossoms. On the forthcoming The Night Undoes the Work of the Day, the unhinged organ fugues of the band's earlier albums have softened into slower, more ballad-like songs that showcase Billy O'Neill's vocals. (For reference, O'Neill's voice has some of the froggy sweetness of Ron Sexsmith mixed with an American Idol contestant's emotive croon.) Day relies heavily on piano that's alternately plaintive and propulsive, and the band's rhythmic restlessness keeps the tempo shifting throughout the disc. Some of the band's proggy, synth-fueled rock moves remain — notably on the band's electro-heavy cover of the Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another" — but these days oh my god! sounds more like a prayer than an exclamation.

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