The title This World Is Such a Groovy Place might sound like it should accompany the sort of ultra-cheesy, unnaturally upbeat music that makes you want to kill yourself, but from the first track on, The Cherry Orchard make a convincing argument that their world is, indeed, a groovy place. That opening song, “Everybody Knows”, is so fabulously pop that it swings you along in seconds, using a bright swoosh of horns and an addictive hook to brighten up your life.
From there on, The Cherry Orchard take you through an array of pop songs with a laid-back, slightly jazzy feel. Some are augmented by horns, some rely more on guitar and synthesizers, but all feature the vocals of the group’s two members, Jason Smith and Sara Onyett. Smith more often takes a lead role, and his voice for whatever reason recalls the pop music that covered the airwaves in the early 1980s more than it does the sounds of today.
This World Is Such a Groovy Place, their second full-length, is an unabashed celebration of love. This group is all about love, and proud of it, whether they’re giving universal, almost new-age proclamations (“feel the love”, they incessantly repeat on “Bubble Gum Pop Girl”) or singing about love affairs. The later topic is all over the album; there’s songs about relationships that should have happened, that did happen and are missed, and that are thriving right now.
Starry nights, sunny afternoons and laid-back summers are the romantic backdrop for every song. “Hey! It’s a Beautiful Day” is both the self-explanatory title of one song and a description of the duo’s unending optimism. “A love like ours was meant to be and all these stars shine just for you and me”, Smith sings on “Love Among the Stars”, and it’s a feeling that runs through every track. Even a song with a more lovelorn feeling is till infused with optimism, like “Feels Like Sunday”. Here Smith might be missing his lover, but he still knows that if he “could hold her, then everything would be all right”.
In a way, The Cherry Orchard’s songs are a concise summary of the universal conceit of lovers, the feeling when you’re in love that the world was created just for you, and that nothing can ruin your happiness. What makes it irresistible instead of irritating is the sheer giddiness of it all and, even more importantly, the skillfulness of the melodies and arrangements. Love is everywhere, The Cherry Orchard are saying. It’s a message that seems naïve in a way, except for the fact that this isn’t an attempt at documentary. The Cherry Orchard may not be describing the world around us but writing their ideal world into existence. The world depicted in This World isn’t our world, but a created world where love is gentle, sweet, and everywhere. It’s a world where love is the question, the answer, and everything in between, where the sun shines equally for all and everything is groovy, all of the time.
// Notes from the Road
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