Outrageous Cherry's music recalls simpler times. More than just evocative of the psychedelic rock's earliest years, the band's ninth album brings back the long-forgotten belief that a band could make a complete statement in 36 minutes - 10 songs no less. Universal Malcontents# remembers the days when lyrics make the title of the song obvious by their recurrence, which was a good thing because that repetition kept the song alive long after it was over.
"I Recognized Her" starts the album with a four-on-the-floor beat with some appropriately rigid tambourine playing that plays up the song's chunky riff and ooh-la-la backing vocals. The band bathes everything in natural reverb, which in an ideal fit for this music, especially the more pensive tracks like "Horizon," which has a Walls and Bridges-era John Lennon feel, due especially to the swirling piano and Matthew Smith's rich vocal track. And no modern psych album would be complete without a drone track, which comes in the form of "Outsider," which swirls on for eight hypnotic minutes.
The only things missing are bridges. As in middle eights, as in the interlude in the middle of the songs that offers a respite from lyrics that sometimes rely too heavily on the same lines. If Smith had fashioned a break in the middle of more than the last two songs, Universal Malcontents would be on the fast track towards teenage symphonies to you-know-who. But as it is, he's still come up strong set of material, nary a bit of filler among them. - Mike Shanley / Blurt