This World Is Such A Groovy Place
Riviera / Darla
By: Eric G.
The Cherry Orchard puts you right inside a time capsule back to the swinging sixties on its second full length, This World Is A Groovy Place, and for some reason I’m not fighting to get off. This is a rare day because I could barely stomach the band’s last record, The Start Of Our Affair. Jason Smith’s songs are so happy and carefree that it’s easy to forget where you are. His lyrics are gushing with love and giddiness- things that usually make me cringe and want to vomit, but, somehow, Smith charms you into joining his happy party. Smith perpetually sounds like he’s head over heals in love, and he’s surrounded by breezy, light-hearted arrangements of retro pop and doe-eyed female backing vocals that are too charming to ignore. This is fluff, for sure, but it’s listenable fluff.
From the suave orchestration of “Everybody Knows” it’s clear this is going to be an upbeat record: “The sun and the rain makes a rainbow/the moon and the stars light our sky/the ship that we sail leaves the harbor/together we’ll sail you and I.” I know this looks sappy on paper, but you should hear how incredibly catchy it is. The Cherry Orchard has an endless supply of hooks and choruses. Smith’s voice is sincere and boyish- sort of like amateur choirboy, but what he lacks in talent he makes up for in cheese. I want to see the girl that makes him write these lyrics: “so gentle was your touch I never thought I’d find this love/no I’ll never let you go/a love like ours was meant to be” (“Love Among The Stars”).
To flesh out the grand French pop sound the band employs trumpets, moogs, fingersnaps and handclaps. The guitars are so airy that they seem to float amongst the layered instrumentation as opposed to leading the songs. The Cherry Orchard is sort of the cartoonish, French version of David Gedge’s Cinerama with the same sweeping melodies and Bacharach-inspired arrangements. It’s hard to be in a bad mood after listening to The Cherry Orchard. This is stylish, well-constructed pop music of the lampoonish and overblown kind. Understandably, it may be too sickeningly sweet for some, but the band has created its own desperately contrived world of cartoonish gaiety and sunshine, where it wishes everyday were Sunday and the biggest problem is the weather.