Outdoor Velour - Our Songs (Cover Artwork)

Outdoor Velour

Our Songs (2019)


Disclaimer: Punknews contributor Greg Simpson is a member of Outdoor Velour

Cover albums usually come in two varieties. Firstly (and most often) they are a vaguely thought through, slightly self-indulgent journey into a bands influences often used to fulfil a contractual obligation to a record company. Secondly, they are thoughtfully curated records, used to honour artists who have inspired bands at all levels to pick up instruments in the first place, with the added bonus of exposing their audience to music that they have an intensely personal relationship with. I’m immensely pleased to say that Our Songs from lo-fi indie rockers [[Outdoor Velour]] falls decidedly in the second camp. Following multiple spins ahead of putting these words together, the adjective I keep coming back to when thinking about this record is ‘fun’. This may be because I have I am friends through social media with Greg Simpson, who along with partner Cara Kinnally founded the band over 10 years ago and have steered their evolution from noisey duo to full on 5 piece band, meaning I’ve seen the journey they have been on with this project, but none of that changes the fact that this collection is simply a blast to listen through.

Curated is definitely how this collection feels, because with 24 tracks making up Our Songs, you get a sense that narrowing the selection down even to this extraordinary number was a huge challenge for Cara, Greg and co. With that number of tracks, you’d be right to expect a degree of variety, and boy do you get it here. Personally I dislike when arrangements of familiar songs are messed with too much, as to me a covers record should be paying homage to the original and [[Outdoor Velour]] do that with aplomb, especially when tackling rock n’roll to royalty with their versions of [[The Beach Boys]] “God only Knows”, [[The Beatles]] “In My Life”, and “Baba O’Reilly” by [[The Who]]. This applies equally to modern tracks like the excellent version of [[They might be Giants]] “Dr.Worm” and “White Crosses” by [[Against me!]]. Where they do take risks with the arrangements, like the killer acoustic version of [[Green Day’]]s “Pulling Teeth”, a brilliantly lo-fi take on [[The Promise Ring]]’s “Happiness is all the Rage” whilst their spaced out chiptune-esque take on [[Masked Intruder]]’s “When I get out”, it works because the essence of the original remains. As a native Winnipegger, a personal highlight for me was their decision to wrap [[The Weakerthan]]’s “One Great City” in a sea of distortion that gives the music the biting edge that the lyrics always demanded.

Whilst there is a lot of love about Our Songs, unless you are a music anorak (which I am definitely not), there will be a couple of songs and artists that will be foreign, but frankly that the point of a covers record, and whilst I loved googling the original versions of “Lust for Life” ([[Girls]]) and “Dance Music” ([[The Mountain Goats]]) I can’t say that everything was brilliant; [[Damone]]’s “Up to You”, [[The Magnetic Fields]] “Too Drunk to Dream” and [[Troubled Hubble]]’s “Nancy” all left me a little cold, but overall there is much more to like than dislike here.

It’s difficult to sum up what listening to Our Songs is like from start to finish, but the closest I can get is try to imagine sitting in someone’s basement, surrounded by record sleeves while 2 best friends playfully argue over which of their favourite songs to play next. And that is a very fun place to be indeed.