holy nostalgia, batman! legendary garage rock outfit the dirtbombs pay tribute to late 60’s bubblegum pop on their latest record. #soundcheck

September 27, 2013

You gotta give the Dirtbombs this: when they pick a concept, they follow through. The Detroit garage outfit was acclaimed for their 2001 soul record Ultraglide in Black, and paid tribute to Detroit’s other great musical legacy: House music on 2011’s Party Store. This time out, the aim of their affection is the bubblegum pop of the late 60’s and early 70’s on Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!

Inspired by the Saturday morning cartoons of singer Mick Collins’ youth, the record is a loving tribute to the disposable pop of made-for-TV bands like The Archies, Josie and the Pussycats, and the Monkees. They’re not the first hard rocking band to fall prey to the allure of the sunshine melodies and charmingly innocuous lyrics of bubblegum (the Ramones are the “Simpsons Did It!” of punk rock). But their tribute is infections for it’s sincere desire to explore what it was that made those deliberately disposable songs somehow survive long past their original 30 minute broadcast 45 years ago.

It’s true, sometimes the songs serve more as genre studies and writing exercises than as standalone songs. However, given the genre, it’s probably fitting that the biggest criticism of the record is that some of the songs are fluff. But on songs like “It’s Gonna Be Alright,” “Hot Sour Salty Sweet,” and “Sunshine Girl,” the band achieves a kind of euphoric joy that transcends the disposibility of their inspiration. It’s a fluffy record sure, but it’s a record that’s all about dropping pretension and just celebrating fluff for it’s innate awesomeness. If for even just a second you’re 7 years old again watching cartoons on the floor on a Saturday morning, then Mick Collins and co have done their job.

– Words by Nathan Leigh