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“Dark, melodic ‘vocoder pop’ from the Great White North”
Spanish Moss and Total Loss
(Normals Welcome Records)
Edmonton, AB-based dance punk/electro poppers Shout Out Out Out Out have returned to the ring with their third full-length album, Spanish Moss and Total Loss. Stylistically, the album doesn’t deviate too far from the rest of their catalogue, their electro-pop jams composed of analogue synthesizers, heady bass lines, steady drum machine rhythms and futuristic vocoders. But where once the band seemed rambunctious, disjointed and frenetic, their latest release sees them heading in a more measured and composed direction.
The surprisingly uplifting and melodic “Now That I’ve Given Up Hope, I Feel Much Better” sets the tone for the rest of the record. “How Do I Maintain, Part 3” comes close to techno territory, with its bubbling beats and smooth production. “This Isn’t Helping” is a pleasantly laid-back track that seems to loaf along, followed by the danceable, disco-flavored grooviness of “Wayward Satellite,” one of the album’s standout tracks. The funky, conga-driven “Spanish Moss” combines with the catchy, low-key “Total Loss” to make up the album’s title. “Never The Same Way Twice,” with its gritty saxophone melodies, builds up nicely to a total electronic breakdown three-fourths of the way into the track, proving to be one of the more energetic numbers on the album. The hard-hitting beats of “Lessons In Disappearing” carry this raunchy aesthetic into the latter part of the album, while “Knowing” provides a cathartic, albeit slightly unsettling, end to the record.
While at times the highly processed, artificial vocoder can be overwhelming, when Shout Out Out Out Out strips away the antics and focuses on what they do best (the beats), they can’t go wrong. If Spanish Moss and Total Loss is any indicator, the band is heading in the right direction.
Produced and Mixed by Nik Kozub at The Audio Department, Edmonton
Mastered by Joao Carvalho