June 16, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: Outerhope - No End In Sight (2012)

Fresh from a successful stint at the major indie pop fests in the United States, Outerhope welcomes the mid-year salvo with an introverted, schoolgirl pop record that bubbles into the world of nostalgia-gaze daydreaming, childhood memories and rainy day chirp. Their third release, No End In Sight is a creative leap from their previous releases, dosing their twee-as-fuck sound with the stylish trumps of Rainway Children and the synth-pop flourishes of ‘80s bands such as EBTG, Prefab Sprout and China Crisis. Their playground has gotten a little bit wider, yielding more ideas from behind some impenetrable screen of idiosyncrasy. But despite being awash in textures and atmospheric swirls, synthesizers and layers of electronic drums, No End In Sight still sounds undeniably and distinctly Outerhope—lazy, softened, childlike, and whimsical—qualities that seemed to reject the whole notion of cool being tough, erotic and masculine.

No End In Sight kicks off with the mournfully nostalgic “Lost Year”—an open-ended letter to the past, to which the siblings explore a ghostly, Nick Drake-like approach that welcomes and even demands repeated listens. It’s an achingly gorgeous song seeped in lush orchestration, and one that follows the experimental vaults of their old song “Five Miles” to a certain trajectory. It is followed by title track “No End In Sight” a catchy, power pop number that exhibits confidence, if not transcendence. Third song “Hear The Days Go” has a lot in common with Tracey Thorn and The Pet Shop Boys than C-86 or Sarah Records. There’s this bedsit vibe in the song that feels like the duo have somewhat surrendered to the whims of clubland pop and electronic music, but of the introverted kind. The EP ends with “Pale as The Day,” a throwback to the intimate folk musings of their Strangely Paired days.

Outerhope’s No End In Sight ends quick at fourteen minutes, like daydreaming have suddenly morphed into cinematic impulses of children running into the wilderness, joyously picking up where their youth is. It’s so short that you’d wish to repeat the experience all over again, until you get past the feeling and call it a day.  A- 

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