18 Aug 2019

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Outland Sessions - EP Review: Daylight

13 Jul 2018 // A review by Steve Shyu

The Outland Sessions is the result of a large collaborative project between 20 Kiwi musicians who gathered in Pahiatua over February 2018 to jam, write and record songs. The end products are twenty entirely different-sounding songs, mixed and mastered by Mordecai Records and released as three separate EPs.

Part 1 of these three acts is titled Daylight, and Paul T Gheist had the honour of getting these tunes in his ears. Here’s what he took away from his journey into the Outlands.

1 – A New Song

The EP begins with an attention-grabbing funk rhythm, provided by a dreamy bass guitar sound and deep-grooved drums. The soulful vocal lines cut straight to the chase, welcoming you to the 7-track party.

A level of playfulness is added to the tune as the drumbeat changes to a shuffle for the choruses, and the guitars break in to a psychedelic tone, accompanying the youthful vocal drawls.

The song peaks as the singing soars into a bold, head-turning long note right before the breakdown begins, boasting a groove deeper than before. Bass synthesisers come out to play, with vocal ad libs added in that classic 80’s style. Right before you begin to daydream too heavily in the warmth, the song hops right back into the mid-tempo bounce.

The vocals in A New Song takes centre-stage, with soul and classic rock influences evident as the male lead proclaims, “I’ve got a new song, hey hey, honey”.

Truly, a new song, and looking to be a cool new EP, too.

2 – No Chance Mate

Obvious in its Brit-rock influences, this one illustrates a quaint short story of a disillusioned millennial musician unable to fit into a scene, which, frankly, could be all too relevant for some!

The drunken-geezer singing style, set to a ska-infused garage rock vibe, makes for a humorous, easy-to-love little number.

The pub-friendly feel is further amplified by the “Oi oi oi oi” chant at the end of the choruses, and never strays far from the Blur-esque sound.

For a spot of fun, be sure to stop by and get your ears on this one.

3 – MR. 5

Perhaps the most different-sounding track on this EP, it begins to a powerful, stomp-and-clap rhythm to an odd time signature of 5/4. Bold male acapella singing then follows, harmonising over the unified chorus of “Mister Five”, and before long, you’ve found yourself tapping your fingers and your feet to the mystifying rhythm.

To mix things up, drums, bass and a light guitar suddenly enter a third-way through the song, taking you by surprise but amplifying the positive mood evoked with the acapella, then gradually stripping back to the solid tabletop-stomping rhythm.

This track is a refreshing break from the common “four on the floor” timing we all hear, with kudos to the all-voices-on-deck approach, experimenting with harmonies and, for most of the piece, using as few instruments as possible.

4 – In My Sigh

The fourth track feels very much like a Kiwi rock song plucked straight out of the late 90’s. With a light tempo provided by the hi-hat and snare, plus a simple, finger-picked acoustic guitar riff, the opening of the song is mildly reminiscent of The Shins. The lyrics appear to reflect on some life-changing turning point, yet strikingly the vocalist soberingly adds “the best of my life is the end of time”.

Like the sun breaking through clouds, the song switches up to a faster-pace, with broader strums of guitar strings and more drive behind the dumkit, adding a boost of uplifting energy, evoking imagery of a coastal drive on a summery Sunday.

Juxtaposed beautifully here are the moody lyrics set to a brisk pop-rock setting, with a falsetto line echoing “Ooh I feel it in my sigh” until the track fades, leaving a mild, melancholic aftertaste.

5 – Angels

Although dark, this song is easily the highlight of this EP. An emotionally deep piece of songwriting, the simple mixture of blues guitars and low, heart wrenching female vocals makes for a sombre but reflective listen.

The lyrics are plainly personal, introspective yet offers comfort, delivered by a hauntingly-pained singing voice that grabs at heart-strings.

Another attraction on Angels is the whiskey-soaked slide guitar solo that features all too briefly, not overly-complex but fits the atmosphere extremely well.

This particular song cuts but is quietly empowering at the same time; you’re guaranteed to have the line “Angels watch over you” in your head for hours – if not days – after listening.

6 – And If I

By the time this track comes around, you realise you aren’t out of the moody part of the woods just yet.

This is another song that’s marked by unusual time signatures and noticeably off-beat drum patterns, the tense atmosphere is projected by an urgent, high-register vocal delivery, drifting piano arpeggios and eerie guitar effects.

The chorus lilts, alternating between major and minor key, with layers of tenor voices backing the lead singer, while the piano acts as the driver of the song, much in the way Radiohead has been known to do.

This piece changes in and out of different colours, altering rhythms and tempos, plus switching between keys, which makes this one for fans of experimental alt-rock to ear-mark.

7 – Stop Once

Perhaps alluding to the stop-start beat, the last track closes the set of seven in the form of a jazz instrumental, providing a bookend with the feel of a cafe or a small, underground wine bar.

The bass guitar and the keyboard work well together to form a playful, twirly series of riffs, whilst the drums attempt to hold the rhythm steady, oft-times overusing the cymbals.

A tasteful keyboard solo then takes over, adding a layer to the jazz and groove, but ends abruptly, signalling the end of Part 1.

There and Back Again

All up, Outland Sessions EP Part 1: Daylight is a very eclectic collection of songs, with a vast range of influences and styles, from soul to funk, garage rock to folk, courtesy of the large number of great New Zealand talent who contributed.

The EP starts with a fun, uplifting weekend-friendly vibe, at times experimenting with shifts in tempo and timing. The EP becomes a little more personal and carries more soul in its second half, with a quick and casual instrumental jam to close it all off.

Appropriate, as it seems to serve well as something of an interlude between acts of a play. No doubt, I’m highly interested to see what curious goodies the next instalments of this trilogy have to offer.

For the review of Outland Sessions EP 2: Duskfallclick here.

Review written by Paul T Gheist


Other Reviews By Steve Shyu

Shepherds Reign - Single Review: Legend
14 Aug 2019 // by Steve Shyu
Shepherds Reign originated in South Auckland, combining essences of classic and contemporary metal with Polynesian influences. Arguably the best-known Pasifika metal band on our side of the globe, this rising name has not stopped recording music and wowing audiences with live performances with their signature sound since starting in 2016.
Album Review: Blue River Baby
24 Jul 2019 // by Steve Shyu
Blue River Baby are a Wellington band that formed in 2016 and they have since captivated countless live audiences with their blend of classic rock, dub, soul, ska and reggae. Last year, they recorded their very first full-length release with Lee Prebble at Surgery Studios in the windy capital.
The Hopkinsville Goblins - Album Review: Pink Orange
10 Jul 2019 // by Steve Shyu
The elusive and cryptic Hopkinsville Goblins have reportedly been in existence for nearly five years, yet not too terribly much is known about this mythical little group. Lead by principal songwriter Alvin Impulsive, the Goblins (plus Alvin) have moved on to their third full-album release in about as many years.
Craig Payne - Album Review: Making History
02 Jul 2019 // by Steve Shyu
Christchurch-based singer-songwriter Craig Payne is ready to make history. No kidding, the new album is proudly titled Making History, and it’s loaded, aimed high, and if the title is anything to go by, it should burn an unmissable trail across the sky that is New Zealand music.
Outside In - Single Review - The Garden of Light
07 May 2019 // by Steve Shyu
Outside In is the progressive rock project from Aucklanders Jonnie Barnard on guitar, singer/keyboardist/guitarist Mikey Brown, drummer Adam Tobeck, and Elliott Park on bass. Whilst the group have been making waves in Aotearoa’s alt-rock communities for years and years, admittedly, I had not yet properly listened to Outside In before, only experiencing them live once.
Gig Review: Alien Weaponry @ Studio, Auckland - 23/03/2019
28 Mar 2019 // by Steve Shyu
Just a few days ago, my brother asked "What's Alien Weaponry?", and I was happy to oblige and catch him up on one of the most talked-about bands in New Zealand music.
Lucifer Gunne - Single Review: Energenetic
25 Mar 2019 // by Steve Shyu
Lucifer Gunne is the young but powerful quartet of punk/alternative-rock specialists hailing from the capital city. Fronted by bassist and frontman Rory McDonald, the band have worked hard writing and playing live over the past two years, and just a week ago, the lads unveiled their latest creation.
Monshi - Single Review: Strange Love
04 Mar 2019 // by Steve Shyu
Born in South Africa and now based in Hamilton, Kate Theresa AKA Monshi has been working hard at creating her own sound and style. Making her DJ'ing debut at Hamilton’s Smash the Rails Fest 2 earlier this year, she knew the time to get musically creative was now.
View All Articles By Steve Shyu

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Shawn Mendes And Camila Cabello
    Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
    Ed Sheeran feat. Khalid
    Chris Brown feat. Drake
    Lil Tecca
    Mzwètwo feat. Rei
    Billie Eilish And Justin Bieber
    Sam Smith
    Lewis Capaldi
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem