By Outsider (Midlands)
My mum used to tell me that if you've got nothing constructive to say, then don't say anything at all. Hence I was a little apprehensive as to whether I should review this at all.
I hate to be too negative and too critical, but after 'Reflected', the first track on this 5 song sampler from Outsider starts to spin in my CD player, I get the feeling that this is going to be a long night.
The production values are obviously quite good, but lack that attention to detail which would make it great. It's all whispy, reverb drenched songs coated in the most sugary sweet faux emotion that bares lines like "I've made mistakes/ but I'm not the only one". The vocals are far too loud too, as are the drums and the backing vocals lack any kind of emotion or conviction. There's also a just plain embarrasing backwards tape loop thing shoved in for no reason at all. And it's no surprise that it feels unbelievably out of place.
'Go' is next, and the main beef I have here is a law that surely every producer/engineer/songwriter knows by heart has been broken. Rocking electric guitar (that is to say loud and thrashy) does not match with riffing piano (that is to say a piano that is playing a melody line or something other than the chords of the song). It ruins the track, which to be honest, is the best thing here. The lyrics, though, smack of someone who's listened to stuff like Dashboard Confessional WAY too much ("I'll tell you how I feel"). It's pretty flat and bland, but could've been so much better.
'Fuel The Fire' doesn't really help Outsider's case. Along with cringingly bad lines about "souls" and "hearts" is the main line of "Do I love her? / I feel there's no doubt". With the right producer, the right mixing and the right editing hat on, this CD could've been pretty good, but unfortunately it feels like it's swimming in its own misery, constantly just below average.
Track 4 has the title 'So Far, So Cruel, So Fair', so you can see where I got the Dashboard reference from. It's inoffensive enough to appeal to some though, and I'm sure the people who already like them will love this CD, but for me, it tries too hard to push the right buttons, with its obvious chorus and anthemic, strummy guitars. Someone should give these guys a copy of any Bright Eyes album or a tape of 'Figure Eight' by Elliott Smith. In fact, anything by Elliott Smith would do.
'Rock 'N Roll' is the last song, and is really more of the same to be honest.
In short, it's dissapointing to say the least. Pretty bland, dull and totally un-emotive, Outsider could do with a creative shot in the arm, ridding them of the mediocre melancholy that seems to plague every song here. Owing far too much to far too many, a bit of diversity wouldn't be a bad idea either. Listen guys, you have potential. Don't screw it up by making lifeless CDs like this one.