Music

Outrageous Cherry: Our Love Will Change the World

David Malitz

Matthew Smith and Co. cut the excess fat and deliver a strong set of catchy, concise psych-inspired garage-pop.


Outrageous Cherry

Our Love Will Change the World

Label: Rainbow Quartz
US Release Date: 2005-02-08
UK Release Date: 2005-02-21
Amazon
iTunes

It's pretty easy to get the feeling that Matthew Smith, mastermind behind Detroit psych-pop outfit Outrageous Cherry, is one of those folks for whom music is life. Besides fronting Outrageous Cherry for the past decade and playing with alt-country mainstays the Volebeats for the past 15 years, he has produced records for the likes of the Go, Kim Fowley, and Slumber Party, and appeared on records by bands such as Saturday Looks Good to Me and His Name Is Alive. While this could point to restlessness as much as music obsession, the fact that he takes the time in his band's bio to name the brand of fuzz pedals they use (Ibanez and D.O.D., for those of you that are curious) was the clincher.

His constant activity brings to mind former Apples in Stereo/Elephant 6 busybody Robert Schneider, and the similarities don't end there. Both of them share a receding hairline and the questionable facial hair that often accompanies it, but more importantly a deep-seated love for late '60s psych-pop. And like Schneider, Smith's love of that music is so fervent that Outrageous Cherry's entire career is essentially a homage to the mind-bending tunesmiths of yesteryear.

Our Love Will Change the World certainly leans more toward the "pop" side of the psych-pop equation, and it's a welcome development. Only two albums ago Smith was packing nearly 80 minutes worth of material on to The Book of Spectral Projections, a gross miscalculation of how much Outrageous Cherry people can take in one sitting. This time it's a much more concise 37 minutes, and just as importantly the songs themselves are more focused. Smith has never had problems writing memorable hooks, but there's been a tendency for them to take a backseat to meandering psychedelic guitar jams. Save for the record's lone group composition, "Detroit Blackout" -- which is actually much grittier sounding than the prog-flavored jams of the recent past -- the jamming is thankfully kept to a minimum, and hooks reign supreme.

"Pretty Girls Go Insane" might not be the most representative song from the album, as the ascending trumpet blasts featured here don't appear anywhere else, but it sets the blueprint: fuzzy guitars, a chugging drumbeat, Smith's delightfully trite lyrics ("What makes a pretty girl go out of her mind / Is it the simplest gestures or the words you can't find?"), and a hook that would make Sandy Koufax blush. Surely not the most groundbreaking combination, but just as surely one that's proven to be immensely enjoyable when left in the hands of someone as capable as Smith.

While Smith is clearly running this operation, drummer Carey Gustafson deserves considerable credit for making this a memorable record. Using only a snare, floor tom, and tambourine, her primal beats give each song a strong, propulsive backbone and keeps the listener from getting lost in the swirling twin-guitar attack of Smith and Larry Ray. Using a basic kit requires her playing to be especially precise and it's a challenge she's more than up to. Gustafson's vocal contributions also shouldn't be overlooked. Smith doesn't need much help carrying the melody in these songs, and as a producer he knows just how much reverb and multitracking his voice needs. But when Gustafson doubles up with him, such as on the chorus of the title track, it creates a sensation similar to the one the New Pornographers produce when Neko Case joins Carl Newman.

"Unless", "Trouble Girl", and "What Have You Invented Today?" are basically interchangeable variations on the standard theme, but it doesn't make them any less enjoyable. Smith's attention to detail is too great to let each one sound exactly the same, so he adds some always-welcome egg shakers to "Unless" and sets a whirring, futuristic-sounding synth line over "Trouble Girl". OK, he does the same thing on "What Have You Invented Today?" It doesn't really matter. The involuntary head-nod that comes along with listening to it -- and indeed the majority of this album -- is sign enough the primary goal has been accomplished.

7

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image