Oooh La La! (Crash Test Dummies album)

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For other albums, see Ooh La La.
Oooh La La!
Studio album by Crash Test Dummies
Released May 11, 2010
Recorded Water Music, Hoboken, New Jersey
Genre Rock, alternative rock, folk rock, swing, jazz fusion, big band, bossa nova, experimental rock, progressive rock
Length 36:33
Label Deep Fried Records,
MRI Records
Producer Stewart Lerman
Crash Test Dummies chronology
The Best of Crash Test Dummies
(2007)
Oooh La La
(2010)
Demo-litions: Cast-off Recordings 1996-97
(2011)
Singles from Oooh La La
  1. "And It's Beautiful"
    Released: April 2010 (promotional-only release)
  2. "Now You See Her"
    Released: September 2010 (promotional-only release)

Oooh La La! is the eighth album by the Crash Test Dummies, released 11 May 2010 on Deep Fried Records, distributed by MRI Records.[1] The songs on the album are based around the Optigan and Omnichord toy instruments.

Background[edit]

The seeds for Oooh La La! were first planted when Brad Roberts and producer Stewart Lerman (Antony & the Johnsons, The Roches) became infatuated with vintage analog musical toys, particularly one manufactured by the Mattel company called the Optigan (an acronym for "optical organ"). Using celluloid discs, the Optigan projects the sounds of other instruments with different sets of keys triggering chords and individual notes. The discs, with names like "Nashville," "Swing It!" and "Guitar Boogie," rotate to produce different arrays of sounds. The process is eerily similar to the digital sampling that is so common today, but the antiquated analog system produces quite a different effect. "Because we wrote using these discs, we were inspired to do things that we wouldn't have done," Roberts points out. "I don't write big band style, but all of a sudden I had this big band [on disc], so I'm writing in a genre that I normally wouldn't be writing in. I can't say enough about how great it is to write on these toys."[2]

Release[edit]

Brad Roberts originally stated that he planned to release the album as a digital-only release, since he couldn't afford the CD distribution costs (and he believed that CDs would be out of date by 2015).[3] However, plans were later changed and Roberts signed a distribution deal with MRI Records, which distributed the album via Sony's RED Distribution division.[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Brad Roberts and Stewart Lerman

No. Title Length
1. "Songbird"   3:45
2. "You Said You'd Meet Me (In California)" (Early version previously appeared as a bonus track on The Best of Crash Test Dummies.) 3:25
3. "And It's Beautiful"   3:25
4. "Paralyzed"   3:32
5. "The In-Between Place"   2:50
6. "Not Today Baby"   3:10
7. "Heart Of Stone"   4:52
8. "Lake Bras d'Or"   2:25
9. "What I'm Famous for"   2:57
10. "Now You See Her"   4:06
11. "Put a Face"   2:06

Personnel[edit]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[4]
Blogcritics (Positive)[5]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars[6]
The Dallas Morning News (B)[7]
The Globe and Mail 2.5/4 stars [8]
Metro Canada 2.5/5 stars [9]
Sputnikmusic 2.5/5 stars [10]
The Washington Post (Positive) [11]
Winnipeg Free Press 3/5 stars [12]

The album received mainly positive reviews upon its release. Matt Melis of Consequence of Sound gave the album 3½ out of 5 stars and commented on the extremely upbeat nature of the album stating that "it’s hard to believe this is the same man who wrote songs like At My Funeral and The Unforgiven Ones".[6] Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News gave the album a "B" and praised the album's use of toy instruments as ingenious.[7] Brad Wheeler of The Globe and Mail gave the album 2½ out of 4 stars describing the album as "all good fun, except for the skedaddling country-swing of What I’m Famous For, where Roberts shows off the worst John Wayne imitation ever."[8] Catherine P. Lewis of The Washington Post says that "Oooh La La! is not likely to add a second hit to the Dummies' legacy, but this quirky instrumentation certainly makes for a group that's enjoying itself."[11] Jill Wilson of the Winnipeg Free Press gave the album 3 out of 5 stars and says that while the use of the Optigan is as gimmicky as it sounds, "fans of the band's early work may appreciate its offbeat qualities, not to mention Roberts' knack for appealing melodies and the album's orchestral feel." However, she also make a criticism that "Roberts too often pushes that mannered baritone of his into forced lows, as on the otherwise lovely '30s-tinged Not Today Baby, which is reduced to novelty status by his vocal mugging"[12]

However, the album also received some poor reviews. Graham Rockingham of Metro Canada gave the album 2½ out of 5 stars and, while he appreciated gentle folk rockers like Songbird, he states that "the project quickly goes off course as the Dummies try to adapt their trademark sound to something approaching retro riverboat cabaret."[9] Mike Allen, reviewing for Sputnikmusic, also gave the album 2½ out of 5 stars and states that "after getting past the ideal that Roberts brings a certain distinction to the music, his vocals grow tired." He specifically criticizes the songs What I'm Famous For and Now You See Her as examples of how disjointed the album is, with a lack of cohesiveness. However, he does praise Ellen Reid's contributions to the album, especially on Heart of Stone and Put a Face.[10]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Phillyist Interviews... Brad Roberts of Crash Test Dummies". Phillyist. 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Crash Test Dummies Return With New Album and Tour". antiMusic.com. 2010. 
  3. ^ Roberts, Brad. "Latest Update". Crash Test Dummies Blog. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Crash Test Dummies: Oooh La La > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Marcus, Richard. "Music Review: Crash Test Dummies - Oooh La La!". Blogcritics. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Melis, Matt. "Album Review: Crash Test Dummies – Oooh La La". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Tarradell, Mario. "CD review: Crash Test Dummies try a little retro electronica". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Wheeler, Brad. "Crash Test Dummies: Oooh la La > Review". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Rockingham, Graham. "Crash Test Dummies sound confused on return". Metro Canada. Retrieved 15 May 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b Mike, Allen. "Album review: Crash Test Dummies' 'Oooh La La!' n". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Lewis, Catherine P. (14 May 2010). "Album review: Crash Test Dummies' 'Oooh La La!'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Wilson, Jill. "Crash Test Dummies / Oooh La-La!". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 15 May 2010.