|Outfit — Slowness (June 15/16, 2015)
Outfit — SlownessΞ At the beginning of 2014, Outfit found themselves scattered across two countries and three cities, separated by life and love from each other and from those closest to them. Slowness, the band's second full length LP due June 15 on new label home Memphis Industries, is the sound of its five members snatching intensive weeks to plant themselves in one place, with the tensions of touring, moving, and transatlantic relationships still weighing heavy in mind, to create an album with bold presence.
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Album release: June 16, 2015
Record Label: Memphis Industries
01 New Air 5:13
02 Slowness 4:09
03 Smart Thing 3:26
04 Boy 3:45
05 Happy Birthday 4:46
06 Wind or Vertigo 2:29
07 Genderless 3:31
08 Framed 3:53
09 On the Water, On the Way 3:52
10 Cold Light Home 5:14
11 Swam Out 6:34
Notes: Also on Indie Exclusive Blue Swirl vinyl.
Gary Kaill | 03 Jun 2015 | SCORE: *****
Ξ Their 2013 debut Performance (by Corao Malley, 12 August 2013 / http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/review/outfit-performance / SCORE: 8) didn't spark throughout, but its clutch of on–the–money highlights announced Outfit as an act keen — and equipped — to toy with the staid conventions of pop. Slowness is more accomplished by some distance, and a surer, fuller demonstration of their developing songcraft.
Ξ Deftly sequenced, from opener New Air's electro stutter to a clutch of mini symphonies (Smart Thing, Boy) via the mid–set atmospherics of Wind or Vertigo, they confirm their headway with the closing Swam Out, whose epic, ascending coda is a (not so) distant cousin of The Blue Nile's Saturday Night. Indeed, the Glasgow trio's influence is evident throughout, with Slowness's deceptively full soundboard built on a trim foundation of delicate keys and crisp percussion.
Ξ Outfit reference an outlying sector of mid–80s alt–pop, a glossy side road that saw its prime exponents forsake the wiry, nervy guitars of post–punk in favour of synths, beats and — crucially — space. So much space here: Andrew Hunt's voice lives and breathes within it. It's a careworn but lovely thing, with shades, at times, of Talk Talk's Mark Hollis. This is an album for the small hours, a record you'll turn to as the bottle empties, the ashtray fills and the light of dawn creeps through the blinds. Its scale is modest but its daring is limitless. Ξ http://www.theskinny.co.uk/
REVIEWER: MATTHEW DAVIES | SCORE: ****
By NICK MEE on JUNE 15, 2015
Ξ For all the aspirations to elaborate, classical grandeur on Outfit’s second album — the poignant piano über alles, the empty space, minor–keys and sinuous vocal progressions, it is the more contemporary, straightforward touches that are the most affecting. The fine widescreen art–pop opener ‘New Air’ has a heavy synth oscillation as its energy source, elevating one of Andrew PM Hunt’s more positive vocal deliveries above a polished airy groove, while ‘Smart Thing’ stands out by way of its electro–disco sheen. The most immediate singalong (albeit cathartic), ‘On The Water On The Way’, eschews the intricate arrangements of elsewhere to build a beautifully lyrical verse–chorus–verse over proggy light and shade.
Ξ This Liverpool band now comprise five members who each reside in separate cities, countries in some cases, and it is this sense of being apart, of long–distance love and languid aloneness that inspired the album. As such, it is a success, ‘Slowness’ effectively evokes the feeling of emotional distance and ennui. But whether ennui translates into exciting sound is another matter. Here it lends a detachment to the embryonic chamber music and Eighties art–pomp, a compressed template that nonetheless delivers spasms of satisfaction. Intriguing closer ‘Swam Out’ is a microcosm — a hesitating, introspective ballad that morphs into a spectacular sci–fi depth–charge of a coda. As bombastic a climax as it is, it’s a release on an album whose clear inventiveness is sometimes smothered by considered sophistication.
Ξ “STILL STRIVING FOR SINGULARITY” — NME
Ξ “... gleaming guitar’n’synthpop that touches on the motorik rhythms of krautrock and breaks up mannered arrangements with crunches of electronic noise... While there are bands who share common ground with Outfit... the appealing niche they’re easing into bodes very well for album three.” Also:
BY JOHN BELL, 10 JUNE 2015, 11:30 BST; SCORE: 7.5/10
|Outfit — Slowness (June 15/16, 2015)