The core of Oh-OK was bassist Lynda Stipe and vocalist Linda Hopper, a pair of Athens, GA, natives who formed the band while in their teens. They only released a pair of short recordings while together, and only a minor ripple was felt during and after they were around. Even so, their existence should not be reduced to familial links and the involvements that followed long after their split. Their songs are simple, wiry, playful, and childish (toys aren't an uncommon element); they're occasionally creepy and, without fail, well-constructed. They're also easy to enjoy after several listens, raising them far above novelty value. If any comparison can be made, Stipe and Hopper's group was the American equivalent of Wales' Young Marble Giants.
Stipe had been playing bass but wasn't motivated to do anything of significance with it until her brother, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, needed an opening band for one of his temporary groups. She and friend Hopper were able to piece four songs together and perform them at the 40 Watt Club. They eventually added David Pierce as their drummer and recorded the four-song Wow Mini Album, a seven-minute 7", in Atlanta. After its 1982 pressing, which included 500 hand-colored sleeves, the band continued to gig with the likes of supportive DB labelmates Pylon and Mitch Easter's Let's Active. By the time they went to record 1983's Furthermore What at Easter's Drive-In Studio, they shed Pierce (who was replaced with David McNair), went through a keyboardist named Brian Cook, gained and lost guitarist David Thompson, and added Nebraska-transplant guitarist Matthew Sweet. The time on the road and the new membership led to a fattening up of the band's sound, but there isn't a great difference between the two releases.
The band broke up in 1984, though not before Sweet left to form Buzz of Delight with Pierce. Hopper left to play with Sweet's replacement, Lynn Blakey, in Holiday, and eventually reconnected with McNair the following decade in Magnapop. Stipe went through numerous bands, including the Babbling, the Shirleys, Hetch Hetchy, Sumac, Organ Grinder, and Flash to Bang Time. In 2002, Collectors' Choice released The Complete Recordings, a disc containing Oh-OK's two releases, a stray compilation appearance, and a dozen live and unreleased tracks. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi