Review: The Dirtbombs | Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!

Over the course of their eighteen year existence Detroit garage rock institutions The Dirtbombs have chartered musical terrain as diverse as Detroit techno and obscure 60’s soul covers – be sure to check out their ace Ultraglide in Black record from 2001 for the drop dead coolest party starting soundtrack in town! Hell, they even released a cover of INXS stadium rock smash hit Need You Tonight on 7 inch vinyl to coincide with their 2008 Australian tour.

Band leader Mick Collins is a true garage-rock renaissance man, being involved in a slather of seminal underground musical projects, from the primitive stomp of The Gories through to heavy garage pounders Blacktop. And this is only scratching the surface of the oeuvre of the coolest black man in Detroit.

This time round they go heavy on the bubble and froth, delivering no less than a bubblegum pop record. But never fear, the band’s signature twin drum and bass attack overlaid with fuzz guitar still forms the cornerstone of their sound, delivering the required grit to counterbalance the sugary fizz of the tunes themselves.

Sunshine and sweetness ooze from every groove and word, from the childishly playful title itself (Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!) through to song titles such as Sugar On Top, Jump And Shout and Sunshine Girl. And the back cover artwork features the band sketched in cartoon bubblegum pop pose.

For the most part the songs are fun, snappy and singalong, paying direct homage to 60’s floss such as The Archies and 1910 Fruitgum Company.

Second track Crazy For You (no not the Madonna song!) would be a worldwide radio hit in a superior musical universe, a cracking singalong number kept ‘real’ with the band’s signature 60’s fuzz guitar accompaniment.

Meanwhile The Girl On The Carousel delivers a wistful 60’s style ballad, while elements of light psychedelia and baroque pop filter delightfully to the surface over the final third of the record, including a brief tinkling, light-psych sound collage.

And final track We Come In The Sunshine delivers Sergeant Pepper style brass married to a verse which directly approximates The Beach Boys hit song Good Vibrations.

The album zooms by in barely 30 minutes flat, pleasingly circumventing the dangers of overdosing on such saccharine-sweet grooves.

Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey! is a sparkling, giddy listen made good by the songwriting chops of Messr Collins combined with the ever-present Dirtbombs garage-fuzz lurking beneath the shiny-shiny surface of these pop homages. I for one can’t wait to see what the band try their hand at next time around.

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