March 26, 2008

The Outsiders – C.Q.

Filed under: Music — myarmy @ 10:32 pm

[Pseudonym Records; 1968]

If the lead singer’s name, Wally Tax, and the genre “Nederpop” doesn’t already make you want to pick up an album by The Outsiders let me take the time to persuade you to do so, specifically their sophomore effort C.Q.

In 1968 Dutch band The Outsiders recorded the follow up to their live self-titled debut. Rather than fitting neatly into the psychedelic pop mould created by their British and American counterparts, they experimented with a number of distinctive sounds and textures in order to produce one of the most unique and overlooked sixties psychedelic rock and roll albums.

The Outsiders push their rhythm section hard during their rock and roll numbers which create a driving beat, bound to catch the attention of any hip shaker. The aggressive rhythms and dark vocals show hints of punk rock well before the term even existed. Tracks like “Misfit” with its rolling bass and the chord bashing of “The Man On The Dune” are sure to satisfy your primal amplifier-fueled urges.

The most experimental aspect of this album comes in the form of delving into noise. Tracks such as “C.Q.” are sprawling waves of distortion supported by moments of field recordings and psychedelia. It is used most effectively in “Doctor” as just as we start to move along to the infectious guitar lines, the song drops out and is replaced by an ugly mess of eerie sounds. Eventually we return to some crunching distortion and that guitar line, which we are now twice as happy to hear.

Though The Outsiders aren’t without a softer side. Despite being known for their rollicking, raucous live performances they demonstrate their ability to write a simple pop tune or ballad. Heart-felt subjects such as the loss of a parent or love, are touched on from different perspectives as the beautiful melody of “You’re Everything On Earth” makes me want to cry over a long lost love I’ve never even had. Whereas the upbeat “Daddy Died On Saturday” chooses to joyously celebrate life, rather than dwell in death.

In the event that you get a sudden hankerin’ for a folk/blues tune at some point throughout the album, don’t worry, The Outsiders have got you covered. “Happyville” surely contains one the most enjoyable harmonica hooks ever put on wax and “Do You Feel Alright”, the closer of the bonus tracks edition, brings the album to a catchy, reverberated conclusion, one that does indeed, make me feel alright.

As much as everyone loves a name drop or two, I’d rather not make one, firstly because I don’t want to detract from the originality in this album that I enjoy so much, and well I wouldn’t be able to think of one anyway. This album has something for everyone, and not only that but it does that something well, and that’s exciting.

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