Outerfield take on deeply personal and troubling lyrics amongst 70s rock and indie pop beats with new record Pleasant Grove Hotel.
Music is there to vent, and vent is what Outerfield do best on new record Pleasant Grove Hotel. This is no light-hearted record as Matt Hutson and Garay Schrader rattle their way through desolate and bleak scenarios, focussing on past traumas and disputes as the basis of the lyrics. This is all laid out in guitar tracks that saunter along to a 70s indie sound with the light of the album coming through the competent guitar playing and strong melodies.
Wondering If you’re Real with its sliding blues guitar enters amongst floaty sounds as empty rhythms continue through fuzzy guitar. Comparisons to brit pop rocker Graham Coxon’s solo material are welcome and compliment the dark attitude of the track. The vocals fit nicely over as they’re backed up by Hammond organ and bells.
Dust ups the game with a more indie pop-laden melody as guitar solos loop over the track to add depth amongst the deep and personal lyrics: “The kids are hungry, no money or bread… they’ve been stealing our money and gambling in the city”. The refreshing drum track stands out to lift the spirit of the listeners as their empathy is tested to the max, making for a hard but rewarding listen.
Hammond organ features heavily once again in Don’t Know Why as the 70s classic rock sound is played out against a more Crowded House melody and vocal constructs. This coming together of styles is pulled off in most respects but could feature a stronger chorus to tie everything together. After The Party uses monotone rhythms to heighten the tracks sad and lonely lyrics, playing once again on the listener’s emotions whereas Throwing Your Life Away’s down-heartened and detrimental lyrics, are raised above water in terms of the tracks strong structure and production.
Pleasant Grove Hotel can be hard listening at times due to the lyrical content, but the infectious melodies and competent playing carry the album through to its conclusion. With the lyrics working their way through much anger, angst and rejection, the record appears to be a way for the artists to vent their frustrations. They have hopefully come out of the other side much stronger and settled.
By Jamie Parmenter