CRASH TEST DUMMIES RETURN WITH OOOH LA LA, DUE MAY 11
FIRST RECORD IN SIX YEARS CO-WRITTEN BY STEWART LERMAN;
CONCEIVED USING VINTAGE ANALOG MUSICAL TOYS
The Crash Test Dummies are set to release Oooh La La, their first record in six years, May 11 on Deep Fried Records. Best known for 1993’s platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated God Shuffled His Feet and the ubiquitous hit “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” frontman and driving creative force Brad Roberts teams up with co-writer and producer Stewart Lerman (Antony & the Johnsons, The Roches) to write and record 11 tracks conceptualized using `70s-era analog musical toys.
The seeds for Oooh La La were first planted when Roberts and Lerman became infatuated with vintage analog musical toys, particularly one manufactured by the Mattel company called the Optigan (an acronym for “optical organ”). Using celluloid discs, the Optigan projects the sounds of other instruments with different sets of keys triggering chords and individual notes. The discs, with names like “Nashville,” “Swing It!” and “Guitar Boogie,” rotate to produce different arrays of sounds. The process is eerily similar to the digital sampling that is so common today, but the antiquated analog system produces quite a different effect. “Because we wrote using these discs, we were inspired to do things that we wouldn’t have done,” Roberts points out. “I don’t write big band style, but all of a sudden I had this big band [on disc], so I’m writing in a genre that I normally wouldn’t be writing in. I can’t say enough about how great it is to write on these toys.”
In addition to ending a six-year hiatus from recording, the band is currently planning their first tour since 2004 in support of the new album. Rather than try to recreate music that was written with some rather cranky toy instruments never meant for the rigors of a tour, the Crash Test Dummies will perform as a stripped-down acoustic three piece band.
The Crash Test Dummies first rose to prominence while based in their hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1991 with their Juno Award-winning debut album, The Ghosts that Haunt Me, featuring their first hit single “Superman’s Song.” Their 1993 breakout record God Shuffled His Feet has sold over five and a half million copies worldwide and the single “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. Oooh La La is the band’s ninth record, following 2004’s Songs of the Unforgiven.