Replay – The Outfield

I love this album. Just listen to the first little bit of “Aladdin’s Cave” and you’ll be hooked in for more. (The time changes on that song are also cool.) The Outfield’s absolutely insane lead vocal harmonies are just as alluring as they were when this band recorded “Your Love”, and the harmonizing background vocals are so interesting; there’s just this incredible trance-like production this band can do that no one else can. I don’t know what the heck the vocalist does to sound like that (it’s amazing) but his voice is absolutely incredible- you couldn’t be blamed for thinking the verses of “California Sun” are more excellent vocal harmonies, even though it’s just the beautiful inhumanity of Tony Lewis’ voice. Tony Lewis’ bass is also quite good, and it’s a major part of the character of this band, often holding the harmony down so that John Spinks’ guitar can go wild and never feel lonely, and often creating an interesting suspension with the guitar chords; there’s some real interesting counterpoint between the two instruments, especially in “Who Would You Be ?”, “Shake Your Thing”, and “Process”. I’m very interested in what they’re doing on “Wonderland”, which boasts not only a novel structure, but some really beautiful Lydian (?) mode mixture and a chorus that feels straight-up romantic. Then, of course, you get hit with “Disraeli Years”, where they turn up the distortion on the guitar, play an awesome pentatonic riff in the bass, and let the guitarist make sweet, sweet love to the track- not even talking about the jamming, John Spinks makes power chords feel like vocal harmonies. (The 5/4 outro is a nice touch.) The album closer, “Sandman”, is worth mentioning for its alternating subdivisions and its Phrygian mode mixture, but mostly for its feeling of an epic trek. You just have to hear this one to believe it.

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