What can be said about OAG?
Genius..mad..outta control..best indie-pop ever? All the above?
OAG's story is the story of writer/singer/frontman Radhi. Even he wouldn't be able to tell you how many lineup changes the group has had..:)
OAG's 1994 debut album on the Positive Tone label was industry changing, a watershed. Old Automatic Garbage gave birth to 'Crunchy Pop Fuzz'. Officially it sold triple platinum, but that was before the official distributor was found to be pirating copies into shops! The big hit was the song 60's TV.
Then came 1997s Melody Mocker, a new lineup, and a commercial disappointment despite the wonderfully 'Knocked Silly' and 'Creepy Crawlies'
Lyrics like "creepy crawlies, flowing my viens..creepy crawlies, stuck in my brain..when i don't get no full attention..." should give u an idea, but when sung to hooky, heavenly guitar-pop, the result is startling.
Opera-Radhio-Friendly in 2001 (once again a new lineup)started the comeback for OAG with a significant number of Malay language tracks..a new commercial hit 'Slumber' the action packed 'Stanza' and beautiful indie-pop 'For Whatever' - penned by Alim
Satellite.ink in 2003 saw the band with a more polished production and arrangement...and yet as Daryl Goh in The STAR wrote...
"The whole “crunchy pop fuzz” phenomenon ensued and also tragically imploded as the early chaotic OAG machine crashed. Today OAG is nearly a VH1-style story waiting to be told – and there are some true sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll tales to be unleashed here. But hold the rock history bit. There is still plenty of life kicking about in the bones of this “veteran” guitar-slinging band. That’s certain.
The fresh blood and bounce breathe vibrancy in the music. But it’s Radhi’s honeyed tunes that drive this band home. The infectious new and energised cuts, mostly with tongues placed firmly in cheeks, are still catchy, winsome and simply too exuberant to resist.
Radhi’s present ongoing renaissance continues but the main change is that he’s slowed things down. Tracks like Nowwhy2 and Konspirasi Bising Internasional could have easily been overpowering indie-rockers in the vein of Knocked Silly or Slumber, but there’s a velvety sparkle to them and you get more soul in the layers, and possibility more reality, by the entire band spreading the pace."
The new 2006 album is...for someone else to review..i haven't got a copy yet:) For sure though, it'll be worth picking up, and there'll be hidden gems inside, that most people will never get to hear.
Also look out for the limited edition "Best of.." from around 1999..2 new tracks, unreleased tracks and all the best versions of early OAG.
My favourite early track is Creepy Crawlies - the best of OAG in one song, and absolutely no-one knows it!..i still don't understand:)