Outdoor Velour - Portrait (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Outdoor Velour

Portrait (2012)


[Editor's note: While Greg Simpson has been a staff reviewer for the Org for well over 50 years, he has little to no relationship with staff reviewer Tori Pederson, who dared to review Simpson's latest musical happening. If anything, they're enemies. Sexy enemies...what was I talking about?]

Portrait, the sophomore EP from Bloomington, Ind. husband/wife duo Outdoor Velour opens with an almost sinister plodding drum beat and rumblings of guitar feedback, calling to mind groups like the Jesus Lizard and signaling right away that this is going to be a much noisier affair than their 2011 debut, Don't Panic.

Soon after that somewhat surprising intro however, "This Isn't Love" segues into a shoegaze-tinged pop rock tune with distant sounding vocals from Cara Kinnally not a million miles away from what bands like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and the Joy Formidable are doing. While it's a pop song at heart, it prominently displays a layer of haze that songs like "Nose to the Ground" from Don't Panic only hinted at.

The Greg Simpson-sung power pop ditty "Teen Beat" is up next. The track is catchy enough, but Outdoor Velour functions best when both vocalists are working together, as they do on the Elvis Costello-esque "It's Easy."

The primarily acoustic guitar-and-handclap-driven "Old Love" is deceptively sweet sounding, but the menacing bass underneath the surface of the chorus reveals itself on repeat listens.

The four songs that make up Portrait could not be more different from each other. Trying a hand at a variety of genres can pay off enormously on a full-length, but on a four-track EP, such a disparity in styles suggests that the group hasn't quite found their sound yet, but they're getting there. Fans of both power pop and shoegaze-tinged indie rock would do well to give Portrait a listen and keep an eye on this guy and gal.