Outer World


Outer World embrace the psychedelic space-age insinuations built into their name. The band’s debut captures the kind of headphone-heavy psych-pop that’s primed for fans of Stereolab, Broadcast, Cibo Mato, and Electrelane. The album was built of a necessity, a need to allow Tracy Wilson a landscape to reinvent her voice following a struggle with long COVID that stole away her ability to hit the rafters without so much as juicing up the mic. Instead, she moves away from the more scathing post-punk of her past for an album that revels in obfuscation, illusion, and iced vibrations. Along with longtime partner Kenneth Close, Outer World explores the obsessive corners of their record collection.

Rhythm anchors the record, slipping through motorik pulses that waft through the Kosmiche corners of the ‘70s. Woozy organs and fuzzed guitars pull from ‘60s psych and ‘90s shoegaze in equal measures, and an atmosphere of echo launches the listener through dub curdled by electronic experimentation. The band stitches it together with the deft hand of seasoned mixtapers. The listener is eased into the fold with propulsion and French Pop perfume before the middle portions begin to drag darker, with “Have” shirking off the more day-go glosses of the openers for shades of Björk and Portishead. They dive into the more menacing end of Trish Keenan’s repertoire before returning to the ‘90s nuance and Ye-Ye burble on their namesake single. Pulling away from a signature sound is always a tough turn, but Close and Wilson make it seem like a natural progression, turning in a masterful album that feels like they made the record they’d want to listen to on their own time.

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