On Seemingly Solid Reality, Outrageous Cherry back away from the glam rock excursions of their previous album, Universal Malcontents, and return to their quintessential acid-laced pop. These songs emphasize the “seemingly” in the album’s title -- from the title track’s jammy intro onward, it feels like they could melt or disappear into a puff of psychedelic smoke at any moment. Matthew Smith and company use this familiar sonic terrain for some soul-searching, spanning “Unbalanced in the City” and “My Ghetto”'s metropolitan meditations to inner reflections like “Self-Made Monster.” As always, Smith has a gift for boiling situations down to a few pithy words, as on “Nothing’s Changed”'s lyric “sometimes it’s hard to be who you are,” or on “The Happy Hologram,” where he manages to say that much of life is a fleeting illusion without sounding self-pitying. The album also offers a couple of classic Outrageous Cherry pop moments: “Fell” is fantastic, with a classic melody, twice-shy lyrics, and a relentless drone that recall the band’s self-titled debut (and reaffirms why peers like the New Pornographers and Wilco love this band), while “Un-American Girls” backs its sly subversion with jet-engine guitars. But most of Seemingly Solid Reality is much more introspective, edging closer to singer/songwriter territory than the group usually does. Even “Forces of Evil”’s spiraling guitar solo feels somehow inward-looking, while “I Like It” and “The Unimportant Things” are as confessional as Smith and crew have ever gotten. Seemingly Solid Reality drifts by in a thoughtful haze, and if it’s not as immediate as what came before it, that might be the point.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares