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The Outfit - Viking

The Outfit
by Chris Hawkins at 30 March 2020, 10:14 PM

Admittedly, THE OUTFIT is a bit of a departure from my regular diet of more extreme fare.  As a lifelong fan of Classic and Hard Rock, though, the band is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.  Hailing from Chicago, the band have now released their second album, “Viking,” via Pavement Music.  Contained within are ten lean, mean songs sure to appeal to any fan of the more melodic side of Rock.

The album opens with “Come Alive,” a straight-forward rocker with timeless appeal.  There is an air of dreamy mystery explored and it serves as the perfect opener and brief exposition of the band’s mission statement:  traditional Hard Rock with a varied approach to chords and huge swaths of rousing emotion.  Immediately following is a triumphant, resounding cover of THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND’s 1972 track “Midnight Moses”.  The band plays to their strengths with brazenly charismatic vocals and true “Rawk” guitar.

The Rock perpetuated by the band could be classified as melodic Hard Rock.  There is a ‘90s feel, but it would be an injustice to classify them as Alternative.  Simply put, “Viking” is one of those albums that flows effortlessly where every track could potentially be a single.  Vocals can be so very polarizing, but Andy Mitchell has an inherent everyman quality present, a sincerity that eliminates any notion of pretension.  Sonically, there is a faint similarity to Dave Grohl, but that is merely suggested as a point of reference.

The key to unraveling the band’s sound, though, lies in the guitar.  There is a free-flowing, multidimensional Hard Rock element colored by influences that peek through the giant chords ranging from Steve Jones of SEX PISTOLS, T. REX’s Marc Bolan, and Mick Ronson of BOWIE and MOTT THE HOOPLE fame (among many, many others).  The Ronson element takes precedence as there is a similar dedication to doing what is best for the song ultimately being a confident, well-rounded guitarist without feeling the need to empty the bag of tricks in every song.  It is regal Rock ‘n Roll maturity with hints of a Slash-type of approach to melodic sing-song solos as well as an undercurrent of Jimmy Page and latter SOUNDGARDEN.

“Bleed in the Dark,” the fifth track is a softer pseudo-ballad affair.  With plaintive sentiment, there is a palpable feeling of melancholy and the real tension of anticipation.  The ninth track, “Wolves,” is another solidly crafted mid-paced song featuring a gorgeous clean guitar sound with a heavy dose of chorus during the verse section.

Viking” is one of the albums that is over before you know it.  Thankfully, there is ample quality within encouraging repeat listens which give the reward of novel nuances each spin.  Sometimes one must just throw caution to the wind and rock – or rather, RAWK!  THE OUTFIT succeeds in making Rock fun again though not by trivializing the music or seeking to replicate the glory days of the ‘80s.  “Viking” is a most promising, auspicious release and one that truly contains mass appeal that is typically absent in these days of rigid, sectarian genres and subgenres.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Come Alive
2. Midnight Moses
3. Believe
4. Carnival
5. Bleed in the Dark
6. Viking
7. Sirens
8. Little Bit
9. Wolves
10. Sitting Here Alone
Andy Mitchell - Guitars, Vocals
Matt Nawara – Guitar
Mark Nawara - Drums
Mike Gorman – Bass
Record Label: Pavement Music


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