I recently re-listened to 2017’s ‘Crash Test Dude’ which is a series of the band’s live recordings from lead singer Brad Roberts – an artist that very rarely leaves anything backstage. Beyond the masturbatory concept of this ‘give yourself a hand’ tour, the charades in his solo rockumentary relish in absurdity. It’s a drunk cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Hit me Baby, One More Time’, a self-written poem merely entitled ‘circumcision’ and a defacing of one of the dummies’ best-selling singles sung in celebration of Camembert Cheese. A forsaken homage to fromage.
Adequately put by Allmusic’s Aaron Badgely – ‘he (Roberts) does not seem to care a great deal about his audience’ and ’he makes it clear that he continues to drink throughout the show’..But when I first started listening to this Canadian Band from the early 1990’s, I also bought into that same form of childishness. It was in this second album from 93’, that the Crash Test Dummies made a parade of these now overstepping parodies. In fact, in the opening title track of this record ‘God Shuffles His Feet’, a stunned on-looker replies to the almighty “Was that a parable, or a very subtle joke?” AND by that right, these Winnipeggers have walked the line and successfully tight-roped the divide between meaningful music and brand-practice antics.
There is a comical yet clandestine quality from tracks on the record like ‘Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm’ and ‘Swimming in Your Ocean’ that were shepherded along so expertly by producer and Ex-Talking Head Jerry Harrison that the album artwork itself is really as close to schoolboy as it’s ever allowed to get. It’s a titian painting with photoshopped faces of the dummies grinning right at you and you can’t help but smile back. Abstract in its idea and filled with tongue-in-cheek throughout, this is irrefutably a really likeable record from cover to credits.