They may be a band of garage punks, but when the Dirtbombs pay homage to different genres, they don’t slack on the job. They do their research, whether that means nailing down a Stevie Wonder cover (like they did on Ultraglide in Black) or going slightly more stiff in their delivery for their Detroit house album (Party Store). For Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!, as the title suggests, they dove headfirst into the world of bubblegum. They studied the cheerful hooks from Saturday morning cartoons and the Archies’ discography, and then, they turned that research into an album filled with sunshine, lollipops, sugar and spice, etc. Ooey Gooey is packed with idealistic notions, schoolyard elation, phrases like “eenie meenie miney mo” and words like “groovy.”
These songs have one significant edge over their archival bubblegum counterparts: They’re performed with muscle by a band of Detroit garage punks. Like they did on Ultraglide and Party Store, the band stays faithful to the source material’s blueprint — the song structures, melodies and tone are spot on. And while most of the material here is saccharine, they aren’t afraid to implement a long, spacey, quiet interlude. It’s happy, but the menace in their fuzz pedal stops it from ever nearing schmaltz. It’s 2013; who knew that a “punks meet the Banana Splits” record would be so compelling?