Outfit – Slowness

Album Review by Gary Kaill | 03 Jun 2015
Album title: Slowness
Artist: Outfit
Label: Memphis Industries
Release date: 15 Jun

Their 2013 debut Performance didn't spark throughout, but its clutch of on-the-money highlights announced Outfit as an act keen – and equipped – to toy with the staid conventions of pop. Slowness is more accomplished by some distance, and a surer, fuller demonstration of their developing songcraft.

Deftly sequenced, from opener New Air's electro stutter to a clutch of mini symphonies (Smart Thing, Boy) via the mid-set atmospherics of Wind or Vertigo, they confirm their headway with the closing Swam Out, whose epic, ascending coda is a (not so) distant cousin of The Blue Nile's Saturday Night. Indeed, the Glasgow trio's influence is evident throughout, with Slowness's deceptively full soundboard built on a trim foundation of delicate keys and crisp percussion. 

Outfit reference an outlying sector of mid-80s alt-pop, a glossy side road that saw its prime exponents forsake the wiry, nervy guitars of post-punk in favour of synths, beats and – crucially – space. So much space here: Andrew Hunt's voice lives and breathes within it. It's a careworn but lovely thing, with shades, at times, of Talk Talk's Mark Hollis. This is an album for the small hours, a record you'll turn to as the bottle empties, the ashtray fills and the light of dawn creeps through the blinds. Its scale is modest but its daring is limitless.

Playing Parklife Weekender, Manchester, on 6-7 Jun and The Kazimier, Liverpool, on 18 Jun. http://facebook.com/outfitoutfitoutfit