Outrageous Cherry

Supernatural Equinox

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While it's not nearly as sprawling and dark as The Book of Spectral Projections, Outrageous Cherry's Supernatural Equinox certainly follows in the heavily psych- and prog-influenced vein of its predecessor. And, like the previous album, Supernatural Equinox is something of a mixed bag, with the dark, droning elements occasionally bringing something fresh to the band's venerable sound, but more often than not diluting the spot-on pop sensibilities that Matthew Smith and crew have demonstrated for nearly a decade. When this mix works, as on the opener, "Girl, You Have Magic Inside You," the heavily flanged, sitar-like guitars and backward sounds give the band's sound a propulsive, slightly sinister charm; likewise, "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures" has a surprising amount of stomp and snarl. When it doesn't work, however, the results are decidedly off-sounding: "Supernatural Equinox" itself, despite its vaguely menacing melody and lyrics, comes off as turgid and subdued. There are less detours into psychedelic jamming here than there were on The Book of Spectral Projections, and a few of them, such as "The Orgone Vortex," work well enough to justify their inclusion on the album. However, most of them tend to outstay their welcome and pad the album to an unwieldily length, detracting from the album's better-written material in the process. Just as troubling, ballads like "See Through Everything" tend to fall flat and sound over-arranged and produced. Fortunately for the band's longtime fans, they still find enough room on the album for jangly, impeccably crafted songs like "A Song for Someone Sometimes," "If You Want Me," and "Saturday Afternoon." Considering that Matthew Smith seems to be able to write these kind of pop gems in his sleep, it's understandable that he'd want to broaden Outrageous Cherry's musical horizons, and their new (if incorporating more elements from the late '60s and early '70s can be called new) direction works just often enough to be promising, and fails just often enough to be frustrating. By no means a bad album, Supernatural Equinox nevertheless feels like a transitional one.

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