When a band's cast-off B-sides are good enough to indict an entire subgenre as inane, either the band doesn't know its own strengths, or a generation of indie-poppers had better put away the four-track and finally apply to graduate school. Outrageous Cherry's "My Suspicious Midwest" stands somewhere near Hüsker Dü's "Celebrated Summer" as a beguiling evocation of a part of the country rarely captured in song beyond workin'-for-a-livin' Rust Belt clichés. "Here in my suspicious Midwest . . . the blinding sunset like a nuclear test," sings reverb addict Matthew Smith over his Detroit-based band's chilly guitar-pop, imagining the people of Atlantis and Pompeii "waiting somewhere downtown for their empires to crumble down." It's a monument of plain pop poetry from a band that once seemed content to stylize '60s bubblegum with Velvets-y drone and call it a day. The other two exclusive tracks here are a piano ditty and a languid ballad, while the funky guitar-and-Hammond freak-out and barrel-of-Monkees title track will appear on the next full-length album. But let's hope "My Suspicious Midwest," itself consigned to outtake-track neverland, has some equally intriguing cousins in the pipeline.
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