Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Outsiders

Released 1968 on Polydor
Reviewed by volehead, 03/12/2001ce

This Dutch psychedelic album is becoming pretty well-known, so all I really need to do is urge anyone who is interested in clever, tuneful and spacey psychedelia to buy it while its limited reissue on Pseudonym records lasts.

The Outsiders were popular in Holland, but not overwhelmingly so- a handful of top ten hits... not bad for a homegrown act, in short- when they made this, their second lp. Their 1st (from 1967) was half-live and showcased the very raw r&b that they usually played. When they were picked up by Polydor (who seem to have been looking for 'the next Golden Earring'!), they got down to work in the Hague on this excellent album.

Side one is perfect- each band member is very talented and the songs are extremely strong. Take 'Misfit', for example, the first song. It opens with an ominous bass riff before the drums and lead come crashing in. Shortly afterwards Wally Tax, the singer, opens up with some vicious-sounding sentiments sung in an eerie voice, before the track stops and starts again, as described above... and again, before the solo... and then it stops and starts again... and so on. Very unusual structure- and dementedly energetic. The song CQ itself seems to be about someone lost in space (surprise, surprise), although Tax's increasingly desperate cries of 'do you receive me?' could be construed as a plea to a girlfriend. The music on this track is spaced out and very hypnotic, a bit like Can or even recent Radiohead. The 4th track, 'Daddy Died on Saturday', is my favourite, very melodic and involving, with excellent drum fills and exemplary phrasing from Tax. I am surprised to find myself complimenting a song on its singer's phrasing- I usually sniff at such things in reviews- but the Outsiders are a band whose strengths are unusual. The lp's sound can easily be compared to the Stones's or the Pretty Things's music of the same period, but is really all the theirs.

It came out in 1968 with a cool yellow pop art sleeve- and bombed. Apparently less than 1000 copies were even pressed, and so even in Holland this is not an album that one can get for less than a few hundred bucks (no exaggeration there). All the more reason to cruise the net for the cd or lp reissues while they last!

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