Album review: THE OUTSIDERS UK – Everything’s Gone Vintage

The Outsiders UK - Everything's Gone Vintage

Planet Records UK [Release date 24.06.16]

The Outsiders UK hail from Lancashire. They are a reformed band who after a 15 year hiatus take great delight in mining some of the best musical of influences of the early 70s’s.

Originally formed in 1983, they are chronologically speaking, way out of step with the era they so fondly evoke, while their last recorded effort was in 1998.

No matter, ‘Everything’s Gone Vintage’ takes us back to the early 70′s with 10 songs that strongly evoke Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Band and in the UK The Faces, The Stones and Mott The Hoople

Their ebullient roots rock approach is founded on strong song structures and bright arrangements and in Adrian Melling they have a gritty vocalist who knows the value of phrasing a lyric.

There’s a joy de vivre to their music, as if they are proud represent quality elements of a musical past, while only the tightly wrought country picking of ‘Chain Lightnin’ seems to fall outside of the rest of the album’s roots rock approach.

You suspect they may have a problem identifying a potential audience. By calling themselves The Outsiders UK, they send out two messages. They stand outside of the current musical mainstream and also by adding the UK tag they’ve almost given themselves another hurdle to climb, as for the most part their music is southern tinged, roots rock aimed at a niche market.

No matter, if you can get past the name and the startling art work, there’s much to enjoy

Their retro roots rock approach is anchored in southern rock – Adrian Melling’s vocals are very American – but they also reach back to the British experience of The Faces and Mott The Hoople and the like.

‘Everything’s Gone Vintage’ is a perfect humorous title for band who have woken from a long slumber and started again, complete with vintage amps and a mission to remind everyone of just how good some of the early 70′s music was. Given that they write their own material, they have much going for them

They open with ‘Memory Lane’ which evokes the Stones dalliance with Gram Parsons all those years ago,  while the majestic sweep of  ’Millstones And Wheels Of Steel’, complete with Barney Williams’s big Hammond sound, is heavily influenced by Mike D’Abo’s ‘Handbag & Gladrags.’

‘River Blindness’ returns their musical impetus to the southern states with a Skynyrd style guitar line guitar and a great narrative which gives the album it’s title: “Everything’s gone vintage, vintage this and retro that”,

Then there’s ‘Hurricane Sister’, built on a languid slide line, as it subtly draws the listener into a very southern sounding stomp. It’s the kind of music that is a bit like meeting a vaguely remembered old friend whose presence triggers several fond memories.

‘Loose Connection’ hits the blues trail, but evolves into a swampy groove, over which Melling phrases his lyrics with real purpose.

‘Everything’s Gone Vintage’ is a well balanced, superbly played album. With the expectation of ‘Chain Lightnin’,  it has a lovely sludgy feel to it, with just a hint of dust on the needle to make sure you know they are a left field outfit.

‘Panza People’ owes much to Ian Hunter and they finish with ‘Death Rides A Pale Horse’, which despite the doomy title has the kind of exhilarating feel to be found at the heart of this well crafted album.

Retro rocking never sounded so fresh and purposeful. ***½

Review by Pete Feenstra

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