BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Mick Collins has long made his living as an unrepentant rock & roll wildman, a R&B-fueled garage rocker who never met a tune he couldn’t scream into submission. From the Gories to Blacktop to the long-running Dirtbombs, he’s done his best to eschew anything close to the kind of slickness favored by the major labels and record-buying public. The assumption all these decades has been that Collins’ work is as raw as fresh meat because he’s incapable of professionalism (and in the case of the Gories, that may well have been true).
But anybody who listens closely to Dirtbombs records knows there’s actual craft going on under the red levels, and on Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey Collins lets it show. Allegedly a bubblegum record, in reality this is Collins’ take on psychedelic pop, with twinkling keyboards, polite guitars and a heretofore unimagined Collins croon that could charm the panties off a lesbian punk rocker. Tunes like “Crazy For You,” “It’s Gonna Be Alright” and the acid-pop ballads “Girl On a Carousel” and “No More Rainy Days” could sneak onto a Millennium record and pass. Collins’ doesn’t ignore his R&B roots, however - “Hey! Cookie,” “Sugar On Top” and “Jump and Shout” roll the pop hooks over a funky backbeat and sexy attitude, while “Sunshine Girl” and “Hot Sour Salty Sweet” kick out the jams in the old style.
Of course, you never quite know how much irony coats Collins’ creations – “We Come in the Sunshine” manages to both homage Earth Wind & Fire and rather blatantly rip off the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” for an inspired bit of genius/thievery that never makes its intentions clear. But, as with the rest of Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey, it’s fun putting the song on repeat to figure it out.
DOWNLOAD: “Sunshine Girl,” “Girl On a Carousel,” “We Come in the Sunshine”