I meant to get this up a few days ago, but migraines and long shifts at work got the best of me… Alas, it’s here!
Artist: Outside the Museum
Released: Jan 16th, 2012
Label: Correspondence Tapes
Format: Cassette, mp3/flac
Genre: lo fi, folk, folk pop
After a particularly tiring day of work, I stumble home and find a kit in my email. I rejoiced. Some time ago, I interviewed Alex, the founder of Fox Pop Recording Co. It opened me up to an amazing world of dream pop, indie rock, psyche pop and overall joy. Best of all, it’s all based on cassettes. The email I’d received was from a new label in the UK, Correspondence Tapes, specifically from the maven behind Outside the Museum.
On the 16th of this month, Outside the Museum will release his debut album, “Souvenirs,” unless you count a few demo tapes released earlier on. After hearing it through a few times, I can safely say that this am amazing album. Benjamin Catt (Ghosts), creates something wonderful here. One could draw a lot of splendid comparisons to the Elephant Six Collective and other lo-fi pop/folk hybrid projects, and yet, this really would just scratch the surface.
We open with “Old Age,” with gentle guitar, light organ and brilliant vocals. It is melancholy and sweet, reminding me of a mixture of the Vaselines, E.L.P’s “Lucky Man,” and the sweetest folk pop on earth. It’s just a gem! I’ve played it fifteen times already, easily. And as I move onto deeper tracks, I find it harder to draw accurate comparisons. The guitar is brilliantly simple, the atmosphere is a mix of dreamy hazes and melancholia, and the lyrics are intoxicating. “Monument Hill,” “The Longest Day,” “Bones,” and “The Dying Light,” are superb examples of this.
Instrumentals like “Teenagehood,” “No Title,” and “The Royal Mail,” fit in quite well here. It isn’t often I find instrumental pieces on rock or folk albums that don’t slow things down too much, but here, they are perfect and do well to keep things flowing. “All My Days,” is the final track and it is the song I’ve dreamed of writing for years. It’s so gentle, swaying and bittersweet. This is good, really good. It’ll be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
So as I finally reach the end of the album after my tenth spin, I’m left with a few thoughts. This is a record that has grown out of the increasingly flourishing bedroom lo fi folk/pop/psyche movement and yet remains surprisingly fresh, original and ahead of the game. Some folks compare this to some of the bands from the Elephant 6 Collective, Smog or the Microphones, but I find this hard to compare. For me, it’s on a level of its own and may remain there for some time, unchallenged. And while just about every track clocks in at less than three minutes (with three tracks being the exception), I still find this immensely enjoyable. The vocals and instrumentation are flawless and make me hungry for more.
And for those of you who are hungry for more, like me, keep an eye out for a new EP and a release in the near future on Fox Pop. I’ll be eying it like a hawk for sure. Outside the Museum will be a project to watch. Seriously, do not miss this.
5 out of 5.
Preorder this album here!