Regulars on the Oklahoma club circuit and perennial favourites of the Arts Council, Ong have become one of the most exciting new bands to come out of the city Norman for quite some time. A trio of T. Bone Ong, H. Mark Hancock, and Jackson Stinkhammer, Ong have been through Hell and high water together, forging a bond through the love of music.
A band who pride themselves on being “damned serious about not being too serious about it”, Ong have earned a solid reputation for being big, bad, and absolutely unmissable live. After a relentless itch drove the band to return to their own material, the band wrote and recorded their latest album in a creative fervour, resulting in the release of ‘Ong Album’, a eleven-track collection of inspired rock sounds.
Released through Monkeyboat Records earlier this year, the album is a passionate showing of contemporary rock, evocative blues, and just a touch country charm, all rolled into one anthemic series of cuts. Opening tracks ‘Refuse’ and ‘Pete Kelly’s Other Song’ present urgent, rolling slices of classic Americana that flow with an immutable rough-cut charm. They’re packed full of energy and nostalgic touches, making them perfect introductions to both the band and the album.
‘Believe’ is a one-hit punch of a track that has a vague punk feel to it, building on frantic, unbridled energy, while tracks like ‘Come’ and ‘Hey Hey’ prove that Ong know how to shake things up a bit, carving between styles and genres to create something new at every turn.
‘Suicide Suicide’ is a musical highlight with somewhat questionable lyrics (Suicide, Suicide / It will make you die), before album closer ‘Bad Feelin’ washes it all away with a quick current of reverb that amplifies that band’s inherent groove. It’s a brilliant finish to a visceral album, one that sticks in the mind and really holds tight.
A deft introduction to the world of Ong, the album is a powerful and wonderfully authentic slice of modern alt rock. It’s rough and ready, pulling no punches and skipping no beats, making it a release that’s not to be missed.