courtesy of the artist
The Crash Test Dummies perform on World Cafe.
- "And It's Beautiful"
- "Not Today Baby"
Back in 1993, the popular hit song "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" permeated the air waves and launched the underground Canadian rock band Crash Test Dummies to mainstream fame. The single became an iconic marker for the group, embodying the instantly recognizable bass vocals of Brad Roberts and the idiosyncratic dark lyrics. While in its prime in the early 1990s, the CTD experimented with various styles — folk, electronic, funk and soul — into its overall rock sound.
Now in their mid-40s, the members of Crash Test Dummies have come a long way since the release of The Ghosts That Haunt Me and God Shuffled His Feet. After several years of hiatus, the group got back together with fresh ideas and a slew of new songs. After becoming infatuated with a vintage musical toy called the Optigan, Roberts and Stewart Lerman decided to have their comeback album, Ooh La-La, revolve around the electric organ's distinct sound.
In contrast to some of the band's earlier work, Ooh La-La is a generally optimistic and youthful album. Clearly the lining of vintage analog toy sounds helps in that department, but it's also the new found positivity in the writing that sets it apart from Songs of the Unforgiven (2004). And yet, there is still something ironic about the approach to the album — while the album beams with positive energy, the matching of child-like optimism with Roberts' dark and brooding vocals is an odd and interesting pairing.