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The Big Takeover Issue #88
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Outerfield - Pleasant Grove Hotel (Self-Released)

11 May 2019

Outerfield are an alt rock duo consisting of Gary Schrader and Matt Hutson from the unlikely location of Columbus, Indiana, and their recently released debut Pleasant Grove Hotel is a powerful testament to how far it is possible to push boundaries in rock and roll while still remaining utterly infectious. The album has been a long time in the making, and after a false start with producer Jon Auer of The Posies, the duo reconvened and assembled the collection of songs before us now. Influenced by the likes of Wilco and early Big Star, the melodies here are as large as the rootsy, riff-heavy guitars.

Not unlike another duo, Tears for Fears, Outerfield tackles heavy subject matter atypical for pop music like loneliness, childhood traumas, and family disputes, but the Beatlesque hooks and sunburned instrumentals mean this album could easily stand among the best of 70’s power pop. From the swagger of “Stay the Same” to the light psychedelic touches of “Voices,” it clear the pair have studied their source material well, while adding their own unique and inherent sense of melody to the mix. For an album that has risen from the ashes, Pleasant Grove Hotel doesn’t sound like it at all and Outerfield have crafted a coherent, strong collection of songs.