(4 / 5)
A 15-year hiatus has clearly re-charged the batteries of UK rock and blues outfit The Outsiders UK. Their new album “Everything’s Gone Vintage” is a very decent listen for sure. If Southern Rock’s your thing, but with a twist, then this is for you. It also has the power and energy of 1970’s British rock legends like The Faces and Mott The Hoople, with a strong collection of 10 original songs.
Formed in 1983, this is their first material since 1998. Steered by original frontman; singer Mel Outsider aka Adrian Melling is one of three original members, along with Chris and Liam. That’s guitarists Chris “Biff” Hartley and Liam McCartan. They are joined by new members Matt Pawson on bass and drummer Peat Hicks. The Lancashire lads were a staple of the European rock scene a decade and a half ago, now back with a new line-up; but still a big sound and those impressive powerhouse vocals of Mel’s hold the attention throughout this album, with ease.
Mat Arnold’s unfussy but solid production adds value and allows the band to be themselves and rock out, but there’s light and shade too on the more laid back material. The core theme here is ‘times past and times passing’, a wry, sometimes bitter-sweet comical observation of a need to head back into the safe, retro culture of the 30s, 40s and 50s, whole embracing the dangers of the digital age and the sharing of private and personal information with the world.
Using the same vintage amps for their sessions of more than 15 years ago, a retro sound of classic 1970s rock, boogie and blues has emerged for the download generation, from a skilled set of musicians who have palpable chemistry as a unit. It is good to hear a singer with the Cojones to deliver rock with the same level of power vocally as the band and the music. So often the main vocal lets down an entire project in the rock and blues worlds, when it just doesn’t have the oomph that the rest of the sound has. No worry on that score here.
The guitars cut through like a bitch, the drums sound like drums and not biscuit tins stuffed with cotton wool as happens on many rock-blues albums of late. Nice to hear a band being exactly who they want to be and not chasing trends, or pretending to be something they are not. Even if their sound is unashamedly a sound of yesterday. A great start to their come-back and hopefully a lot more to come. Look out for gigs across the UK, including support slots to blues Queen Chantel McGregor and Dr Feelgood.
By Simon Redley
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’