####DISCLAIMER: Multi-instrumentalist Greg Simpson is also the Punknews.org staff writer known as greg0rb. Rest assured I'm not a very nice person so I would not go out of my way to butter Greg's biscuits. If, however, Greg's biscuits happen to be laying around, I may butter them. Wait wut?####
I'm not sure if it is because I'm on the cusp of the cusp of adulthood and running around naked from the waist down has lost some of its charm, but Outdoor Velour's Don't Panic really speaks to me. It is able to convey a certain sense of nostalgia while still letting that underpinning of frustration of the current moment beam on through, like that shiny spot from where people's heads rest when they fall asleep on the subway. Sounds bright, don't it?
Don't Panic kind of comes at you from these different reference points, but the genius of this duo is as diverse as the songs themselves are working wholly as a unit. I'm not talking in the sense that album is really also a play set in a tiny British town and there is something about love and building a bomb; no, what I'm saying is that all the songs speak to the same spirit of reluctance to grow up. If you read all the tweets from the twits and tumblrs from the stumble bums, that my friends, THAT is really a concept today's younger generation can get behind. See, throw this puppy on and the opening bassline to "Stay Young" kicks in and it will instantly remind you of "You Can't Hurry Love" by the Supremes, or "Town Called Malice" by the Jam, or "Soulless" by Fake Problems. As the song gets going and the other elements join the bass, it won't really remind you of any of those, but the point is, whether it is 1966, 1982 or 2010 the song gives you that good old-fashioned feeling. What feeling is that? Well, as the song says, "I don't want to be sure / I'll never be sure." Like buzzsaw guitars? Like "do-do-do"s? Like lady-and-dude trade-off vocals? Like brass instruments? Now you don't have to choose! You can have it all! Right here! For the low low price of...who am I kidding? I don't know how much it costs. I review records–I haven't bought an album since the Chrétien administration.
While the EP takes some twists and turns, you got some '60s girl group, some '90s Dino Jr. guitar crunch, some folk...OV take a huge risk and throw a cover of a somewhat active band right smack into the middle of things: The Weakerthans' "One Great City!" is the subject of said cover. And know what? The cover rules! Outdoor Velour take the formerly acoustic ditty and run it through the ringer and it comes out a shoegazey thing that conveys the alienation of speaker in the song in a new and interesting way. The reverb on the vocals creates an echo that distances them from the distorted guitars, and when the drums pick up it does bridge that gap, but makes it too close, if you know what I mean.
This is a really swell debut offering. If you are interested in seeing what Dinosaur Jr. might sound like if they had been super into early Motown, you have to check this out. Even if you aren't interested in that, you should still probably give it a peek.