The Outsiders Calling On Youth

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Format:  Vinyl LP
item number:  7JH98
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Vinyl LP Details

  • Released: February 19, 2021
  • Originally Released: 2021
  • Label: 1972

Product Description:

Personnel: Adrian Borland (vocals, guitar); Adrian Janes (vocals, drums).
Issued in May 1977, the Outsiders' first album has attracted some renown as an historical footnote, since it might have been the first self-released U.K. punk LP, or at least one of the first. (There's also some dispute as to whether it should be considered self-released, as it did come out on a label set up by guitarist/singer Adrian Borland's parents that was technically independent from the band.) Why isn't it cited in punk histories like, for instance, the Buzzcocks' early-1977 self-released Spiral Scratch EP is? For one thing, it was panned upon its appearance by some highly regarded U.K. music critics who championed punk, Julie Burchill and Jon Savage. For another, it's actually not all that punky, though a few tracks certainly qualify by most listeners' standards. If you're not expecting a lost prime class of 1977 document, however, it's not so bad. The title track has the anthemic spewed lyrics and fast guitar blur typical of early British punk, as do "Terminal Case" and "Hit and Run," though the latter veers toward hard rock. On other songs, however, they play decidedly non-punk, quieter, more introspective material. "Break Free" and "Weird" are more like moody Jonathan Richman or Peter Perrett than all-out punk assault; "On the Edge" is like muted Stooges in its sludgy midtempo wariness; "Start Over" is an actual acoustic guitar-centered ballad, if a downbeat one; and "I'm Screwed Up," despite the punky title, is more a grungy hard rock song than a defiant assault. Certainly better than the initial U.K. music press reviews would have you believe, it's nonetheless no lost classic, sounding more like a young band with a hint of promise and some knack for expressing vulnerable frustration. The sound quality's pretty good for an essentially self-generated effort, but the playing is sometimes a bit dodgy, the songs lacking in memorable riffs and variety. So it adds up to something that seems a bit more like a demo than a finished product, though it certainly has its interest for U.K. punk collectors, in part because the quieter songs don't stick to a generic formula. [The 2012 CD reissue on Cherry Red adds four bonus tracks in a fairly standard, early punk mold from their subsequent EP One to Infinity (also released in 1977), chiefly distinguished by Borland's vocals, which have an uncertain and tentative quality that makes for a refreshing contrast from the usual, more aggressive singing typical of the genre. The historical liner notes include first-hand quotes from drummer Adrian Janes and the late Borland's father, Bob Borland.] ~ Richie Unterberger
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Product Info

  • UPC: 852545003875
  • Shipping Weight: 0.50/lbs (approx)
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