Crash Test Dummies
Oooh La La!


2.5
average

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
May 13th, 2010 | 12 replies | 5,108 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Distinct vocals and comical tracks are not enough to save this disjointed and forgettable piece of work.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Within my brief 21-year stint on this earth, one decade in particular has stood head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to radio rock. The music of the 1990’s was an integral facet in growing up; a time when catchy mainstream alternative rock outweighed the sudden and outlandish rise of boy bands. The Third Eye Blinds and Matchbox 20s of the world remained supreme for the ten year olds of the day, provided that they continued to churn out single after single that ignited the airwaves. Maybe it’s a biased statement and maybe it’s nostalgia, but the 90’s was easily the greatest radio rock decade of my lifetime. Amongst the mainstream giants of the day were hundreds of what we like to call “one-hit wonders,” as if to pigeonhole a band’s lifetime work into a three or four minute segment. A number of these bands were justifiably labeled with this infamous title, while others flew under the radar and established cult followings. The Crash Test Dummies could easily fall into both of those categories. The band had never been well-known, although they enjoyed somewhat of an instance of fame with single “Mmm mmm mmm mmm.” Brad Roberts’ baritone vocals and very 90’s-esque instrumentation established Crash Test Dummies as a fitting commodity within the decade, even by not showcasing much distinction. Unfortunately for the Crash Test Dummies, it isn’t the 90’s anymore.

The band’s 2010 account Oohh La La almost sets the stage for something unique and quirky as the title suggests, but for the most part fails to ascertain this. Lead singer Brad Roberts is who stands out immediately when listening to the record; his conspicuous baritone so deep that it makes Matt Berninger sound like Nate Ruess in comparison. Roberts is essentially the only factor worth defining for the band, and is even overbearing at times. After getting past the ideal that Roberts brings a certain distinction to the music, his vocals grow tired. His emotional impact and versatility are minimal, very often coming off as monotonous and uninteresting. Roberts proves to be at his best however, when he is accompanied by the band’s lone female member Ellen Reid, who offers a stark contrast to the bottom of the latter. This tandem melds tremendously on “Heart of Stone,” with Reid’s soothing croon contrasting perfectly with Roberts’ calm drone. With this considered, “Heart of Stone” is easily one of the few highlights of the record; a beautiful fusion of two entirely different vocalists. “Put a Face” may be the album’s greatest accomplishment in that Roberts is not to be heard for the final two minutes of the record. The concluding track is incredibly effective in that it offers a much needed break from Roberts’ dead beat drabble.

Oooh La La proves to be disjointed in several ways, lacking a certain cohesiveness that may have yielded better results. The Crash Test Dummies appear to be attempting unique and comical tracks as well as compelling ballads, but their attempts at the former are lackluster and easy to skip. The dummies even go as far as constructing a full-blown country song, but “What I’m Famous For” is neither comical nor enjoyable (unless of course that is your thing). This reveals somewhat of an obvious Johnny Cash influence on the band; taking the music of “What I’m Famous For” and Roberts’ voice into consideration. The penultimate track “Now You See Her” can be perceived as another of the band’s attempts to be quirky, but is quite annoying with Roberts repeating “Now you see you, now you don’t.” Even some of the lower key tracks don’t seem to go anywhere, with “Not Today Baby” and “Paralyzed” accentuating this with great precision.

The Crash Test Dummies’ 2010 record Oooh La La is not a terrible effort by any means, but is an inconsistent and lacking body of work which is ultimately dull. The band offers a few disparate factors in contrasting vocals and unusually quirky tracks, but neither are utilized in such a way that Oooh La La is memorable. The nineties are light years away now, and this effort will not even create a reminiscence of the band’s “Mmm mmm mmm mmm” days.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
May 13th 2010



6088 Comments


So glad I'm done with this, now I don't have to listen anymore

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2010



15778 Comments


Damn, I had high expectations for this.... oh wait.

I do agree that the 90s seemed to have better radio rock than what is played these days.

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

Romulus
May 13th 2010



8373 Comments


onceeeeeee there was this kiddddddd whooooo got into an accident and couldnt come to schooool

Good review although I am shocked this band is still going

EVedder27
May 13th 2010



6088 Comments


Thanks Willie. I feel like I believe that because I grew up in the 90's, but I pretty much avoid radio now.

@Ryan - I know, crazy. I really don't know of anyone that listens to them or is aware of their existence.

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2010



15778 Comments


I feel like I believe that because I grew up in the 90's, but I pretty much avoid radio now.
I'm in the same boat. Between my iPod, Last.fm and Myspace there's no reason to turn on a radio.

Bfhurricane
May 14th 2010



6194 Comments


Good review, pos'd. I really enjoyed God Shuffled His Feet, but I'll trust your opinion and be sure not to pick this up.

I can't think of this band and not have the image of Harry walking down that lonely highway, Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm playing in the background. Come to think of it, I actually reviewed the D&D soundtrack, that's how I got into this band in the first place.

AnotherBrick
May 14th 2010



9766 Comments


MMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

mvdu
May 14th 2010



595 Comments


I'll check this out anyway because I find their older stuff interesting.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 14th 2010



5775 Comments


Awesome, Mike. Seems like its been a few weeks since I've read one of yours.

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

BigHans
May 14th 2010



26455 Comments


Seriously, they did another album? Good review.

EVedder27
May 14th 2010



6088 Comments


Thanks guys.

Awesome, Mike. Seems like its been a few weeks since I've read one of yours.

Yeah it was probably my first in about two weeks.


sblaine
May 14th 2010



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'll have to disagree here. I've bought the album and I'd say it is right up there with God Shuffled His Feet. The single "And It's Beautiful" is their best song yet, IMHO.



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