Originally from Liverpool, five piece Outfit have been spreading themselves around the globe for the purposes of touring, relocating and transatlantic relationships. Their second album release ‘Slowness’ is a very personal record about physical and emotional distance, explored through their haunted piano sounds, edgy synths and angular guitar work, propelled by their momentous rhythm section. For fans of John Hughes movies.
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If the Dutch Uncles 'O Shudder' album hadn’t have been released earlier this year then this could win the coveted best attempt at sophisticated eighties pop of 2015. With the records coming out within months of each other I can’t accuse Outfit of copying Dutch Uncles but separately they have managed to come up with a remarkably similar sound.
It’s one that harks back to serious young men and women in expensive studios making intricate clever literate pop. I’m thinking Kate Bush, Prefab Sprout but particularly the Blue Nile. The sparse piano notes that open ‘Slowness’ are pure Blue Nile. The vocals here I’d say are more ….standard... they are nice and melodic but you can sort of easily see where they are going and they don't quite tug at the heartstrings. They have a way with a rain-drenched piano melody however and the track veers off into some sweet directions. I’m not entirely convinced by the odd, almost Disco Inferno-ish samples slapped on top. I’m not sure how the Scritti Politti esque pop of ‘Smart Thing’ not be made after hearing the Dutch Uncles album. The wandering vocal lines are identikit.
Aaanyway I’ll stop going on about Dutch Uncles now. It’s an interesting album but aimed right at fans of the kind of 80’s pop I’ve already discussed. I feel that they’ve over complicated the production a bit and would be better off with a sparser less cluttered sound but that’s one lesson from the ‘80’s that still hasn’t been learned by anyone making this kind of stuff.
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