I was reminded of this LP recently after discussing Bubblegum pop with a pal of mine. I dug it when it came out but it sounds even sweeter now! My original review ran on Subba Cultcha when the album was first released.
Mick Collins and co. finally release their much promised Bubblegum LP!
Think you know The Dirtbombs? Purveyors of Detroit garage rock for what seems like forever, with front man Mick Collins previously responsible for the force of nature that was The Gories? Yes that band. The band that have been promising an album of bubblegum pop for almost a decade, an album most people thought would never materialise. You could almost think of it as some sort of ruse or joke. Well that album is here and it's pretty damn good!
Quick history lesson – Bubblegum for those that don't know is a genre of music that was created by journeymen record producers back in the late '60s as a kid-friendly cash-in. With musical roots in the accessible end of flower-power, beat music and folk-rock, it was often fronted by manufactured cartoon friendly bands, blokes in animal costumes or actual cartoons. Think The Banana Splits, The Archies, or 1910 Fruitgum Company. Though despised by serious music fans at the time, it's since developed a kitsch charm and appeal.
There's something about the music of one's childhood, it's deeply ingrained and has a sway over you that the music you hear later doesn't. It's obvious listening to Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey! (best album title of the year?) that Mick Collins has a deep affection for this music. The ten original songs pay homage to this strain of sunshine pop. It's twee, not in a sexless C86 way, there's just the right amount of fuzz and groove to keep the faithful happy.
Candy, ice cream, sunshine and fairground rides all get a look in on this LP of innocence re-found. The Gories this ain't, but it sure is fun dammit! I defy anyone to listen to the album's opening track “Sugar On Top” and not have a smile on their face. Also listen out for the deliberate melodic steal form The Beach Boys' “God Only Knows” on album closer “We Come In The Sunshine.”
Garage rock is a genre that often prides itself in being a ghetto. Mick Collins may upset the garage rock purists by opting to make music that has roots in exploitative pop, but hey how cool is it to exploit the exploiters! Sweet indeed!
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