Review: The Dirtbombs Kick All The Asses With ‘Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey’

Over their much ballyhooed career, The Dirtbombs have created sweat-drenched jams saturated in alcohol, cigarettes and dive bars. The kind of songs that speak of a grungy summer scene, a band on the road, and a love story involving urban sprawl, one that is shot in black and white.

The Dirtbombs kept the grime in their music as trends, styles and attitudes changed. As saturated in grooves as they are, frontman Mick Collins always threatened to make a pop record. It made sense. The Dirtbombs have a pop sensibility to their dirt, and their new album Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey is the answer to all those pop promises.

I want there to be no misunderstanding. Those waiting for Ooey Gooey to blast through with the staple Dirtbombs sound are going to be pissed. This is a pop endeavor that’s blissful in its execution. You don’t just listen to Ooey Gooey, you lay back and wait for this confection ocean to wash you away. Think I’m kidding? 200 copies of the vinyl are shipping in bubble-gum pink. The Dirtbombs don’t just want you to hear their pop, they want you to experience it on all levels.

As saccharine as the music is, Ooey Gooey never sounds forced. This isn’t a desperate attempt by a band for accessibility,  this is an album that was sitting inside The Dirtbombs for a while. Opening track, “Sugar On Top”, lays down the foundation for the whole record. A swing beat, stacked with enough cowbell to make Christopher Walken eternally happy, holds the toe-tapping groove, while the guitars step in and out, performing a catchy riff-dance the whole family will enjoy.

“Crazy For You” is a sixties pop hip-shaker. Complete with “ooh ooh” backing vocals, and bumping guitars. “Crazy For You” elicits visions of girls in short skirts and thigh-high boots boogieing on American Bandstand. “It’s Gonna Be Alright” shifts between a mellow finger-snapper, to an open-chord ode to giant, happy numbers from the Brady Bunch. “Hot Sour Salty Sweet” edges close to the older Dirtbombs sound, but Mick Collins saves it with a chorus that oozes sweet, catchy goodness.

“Jump And Shout” is an upbeat party jammer, while “The Girl On The Carousel” is a straight rock number, touched lightly with horns. The final treat with the last two songs on the album. “No More Rainy Days/Sun Sound Interlude” is a drugged out trip through candy land. Imagine “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” had a sister, we’ll call her Jenny In The Sea With Rubies. As the wistful music begins to slow down, a clacking drum roll leads into bright horns, the kind that could single a Broadway musical, but not here. Dirtbombs sail out of this album on a free floating mix of synths and light guitars. It’s more Syd And Marty Kroft than Broadway musical, and it ends the album perfectly.

Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey is a two fisted chop of pop karate. The Dirtbombs prove again why they have, do and will always kick so much ass.

 

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