In regard to the future of music, people in the industry are very somewhat divided, desultory and opinionated. If you were ask experts where Pop music is heading, or how they think a Pop song will sound in fifty years, you would literally get every genre under the sun.
That said, consensus seems pretty keen on drilling the notion that guitar music is on its way out, or at least, the abundance of virtual studios has killed off the drive and pursuit of becoming a virtuoso. The guitar is an instrument of many connotations. If you where stop and ask someone in the street and to name a famous axe-welder, you are likely to hear Slash, Brian May, Eddie Van Halen, or even the bloke from Dragonforce. We forget that people like Nile Rodgers, Johnny Greenwood, Andy Summers and, dare I say it, The Edge, are guitar heroes in their own right and that they eschew Cock-Rock ridiculousness and focus rather on layers and textures.
‘Outside’ by The Jackobins is a song that incorporates aspects of the latter, whilst on surface, it attunes to the iconography and Pop credence of the former.
Firstly, I wish to propose that this is not necessarily a bad position to to be in. At the end of the day, we are all here to have a good time and enjoy Pop for what it is. And 'Outside’ is a song that does just that and it is very clear that these boys are well educated in sounds from the 70s, 80s, all the way up to the modern times. It starts with a Interpol-like rhythmic build up and takes us all the way to the worlds inhabited by bands like Mike and The Mechanics.
Dominic Bassnett drops in with his combined impression of Bowie and David Bryne, crooning away in the dark corner of the coolest club in town. And while he might not ‘know why’ the verse is ‘so shy’; I can tell that chorus begs to differ. The juxtaposition is in musical genre is emulated in narrative, whereas the verse is ‘sung’ from the outsider, the chorus narrates the fantasy; the rock star in velvet, on stage with double necked guitar and huge fireworks shooting from the backdrop.
This is a song for everyone. Not only will it satisfy fans of the early 00s, the synth-laden sounds of The Killers and The Bravery, it will also appeal to those who demand authenticity, the northern ‘mad for it’ crew who like their rockstars in Parka jackets and cool shades. There is also just a hint of Alternative Rock, just enough to win over fans of Muse and Faith No More. All in all a great Pop Rocker, surgery on surface and circuitous at its core.
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Review - Lewis McWilliam