As opener ‘New Air’ ends, Outfit have already submerged the listener in some artfully flowing keyboard lines and disembodied floating vocals, each syllable of “new air, new air, new air” merging into the next. It’s hellishly impressive that only one track in, the Liverpudlian band have already constructed and choreographed such an entrancing rise and fall. It’s theatrical and dramatic without being too pretentious.
The album meanders stylistically, between an icy pop aesthetic, more abrasive textures and a straight up dancefloor shimmer and the song structure reflects it, from the hooky ‘Smart Thing’ to the spiralling ‘Boy’. The thrilling excursions of ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Genderless’ are arguably the album’s two greatest highlights beyond ‘New Air’. Sandwiched between them is an instrumental piece ‘Wind Or Vertigo’, that sounds like it’s just waiting for its place in a film score. (...)
Like a film with a jaw-dropping plot twist that only reveals itself if you’ve paid an almost slavish attention to every little detail - ‘Slowness’ doesn’t surrender its wonders easily. But when it does, and there’s no guarantee it will for everyone on every listen, it can be perfect.
Follow-up ‘Slowness’ sounds like they're still striving for singularity, though it’s hardly music without precedent: gleaming guitar’n’synthpop that touches on the motorik rhythms of krautrock (‘Smart Thing’) and breaks up mannered arrangements with crunches of electronic noise (‘Genderless’, ‘Swam Out’). While there are bands who share common ground with Outfit – These New Puritans, Hot Chip, Junior Boys – the appealing niche they’re easing into bodes very well for album three.
(...) songs seem half-formed, with cool synths, piano, skeletal rhythms, a keening voice – and little more. It’s very much in the vein of what one music writer recently called “white pyjama music” – the unashamedly wimpy end of early 80s mainstream pop, in which groups such as the Lotus Eaters laid their hearts bare. The more you listen, however, the more compelling it becomes. There’s a self-flagellatory edge to the lyrics – “I try to do the right thing, always do the wrong thing” – that stops them from being merely mopey. And the those half-formed songs reveal themselves to be complete, but not burdened with unnecessary adornment. By the time the closer, Swam Out, heads into its grand, sweeping coda, you’ll be entranced.
Outfit in Deutschland:
17.09.15 Berlin, Kantine am Berghain
18.09.15 Hamburg, Kleiner Donner