Album Review: Universal Malcontents – Outrageous Cherry
It’s been a good run in recent years for Outrageous Cherry. Aside from having a hits compilation curated by Little Steven Van Zandt and their spacey version of Junior Kimbrough’s “Lord, Have Mercy On Me” being picked for the excellent Black Snake Moan soundtrack from a couple years ago, the band has also released a solid ninth album, Universal Malcontents. Ever the American music revivalists, the new record doesn’t break much new sonic territory for O.C. (or rock n’ roll in general), but that’s the point– its self-conscious vintage flavor will make fans of their stripped down psych pop feel right at home in a dreamy version of the Seventies.
There’s plenty of reasons to believe O.C. are fully conscious and unapologetic of their decidedly old-school references. Clap-along “It’s Not Rock N’ Roll (And I Don’t Like It)” explores the inreasingly Internet-based soundscape of pop culture (“computers only made you smile/ program you with so much style”) and “The Song Belongs To Everyone” nods at the changing music industry (“the song belongs to anyone/it swept through fibers and wires to meet your desires”). Futuristic references, like the rocketship synth touches on “What Have You Invented Today?” and lyrics that mention new dances point further to an overall feeling of clash between an increasingly old-fashioned artform and wherever it is American popular music is heading. There are some tracks, like the slow, stripped down “Horizon”, that lack O.C.’s fortes of psychedelia or wit. But even if O.C. isn’t your bag, Universal Malcontents might find a nice niche as a groovy addition to a summer soundtrack.
“It’s Not Rock N’ Roll (And I Don’t Like It)”