I think most folks know a little something about Liverpool, England. Well, unless you were born after 1990 or you’ve been living under a rock for the last 50 years. Either way, here’s a little history lesson for the uninformed. Liverpool has given us more bands than just The Beatles. Gerry and the Pacemakers, Echo and the Bunnymen, A Flock of Seagulls, OMD and Frankie Goes To Hollywood called Liverpool home. There have been many others, but you can do a google search for those. Another band that can be added to this list is Outfit. They seem to be pulling from that 80s stretch of bands. Club and pub music, mixed with some of that Kid A electronic pixie dust that gives us glitchy electronic dance music that can also sit quite nicely under the “alternative” section at your favorite local record store. Performance is a debut to be reckoned with. It’s an album for your ears to savor.
If you’re familiar with Django Django(not to be confused with Django Django Unchained or Django Django Reinhardt) and their blippy little debut from 2012, then you know the territory Outfit are setting camp up in. But unlike Django Django, Outfit seem to take things a little more seriously. Performance is a more melancholy, introspective affair. There’s no Devo-posturing. There’s more trip-hop influence here. “Nothing Big” sounds like something that could’ve sat nicely on Amok, had Amok been produced by Brian Eno in 1980. There’s that care put into those little aural nuggets that were present on albums like Remain In Light and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. There’s a slight maudlin feel as the click-clack beat pushes you to move a little. “I Want What’s Best” has a four on the floor electro beat and sounds like it could’ve been a “Master and Servant” b-side. There’s a definite Django Django feel to this song in the vocal harmonies. Listen, you’ll hear it. “Performance” has a Depeche Mode sound, until about 30 seconds in then this great thing happens where the song gives us this longing that we don’t expect to hear. This song sounds like a band that’s been writing for years, with more than a few disappointments and tragedies under their belts. “Spraypaint”, if you heard it late one night driving home from a few too many drinks, you’d swear it was some long lost 80s band. You’d promise yourself drunkenly to locate this long lost gem on the internet for further reminiscing. The production is second to none on this album. Filled with crisp, gothic-tinged electro psychedelic pop. Psychedelic not in the sense of “Far out, man”, but more like “How more far out can I feel at this point?” There’s a difference, believe me.
I will occasionally get in a rut with music. I won’t hear anything that tickles my fancy and think there’s nothing new worth spending my time and money on. Then, out of the blue comes an amazing debut from a band not satisfied with making the same record everyone else is making. Outfit have made a great debut record with Performance. Filled with the kind of good stuff fans of Atoms For Peace, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, and early 80s alternative lap up like a kitty to a warm bowl of milk, it’s the kind of debut that makes you excited about the future of music.
8.8 out of 10