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Outlands – Outlands EP

Nicola Sloan


Described as ‘disco noir’, Outlands are a male/female duo from Blacksburg, Virginia in the USA. It’s not easy to nail down their specific genre though broadly speaking they could be described as electronica. Their songs as a whole are dark, moody, textured and sensual, though definitely experimental in nature, as demonstrated by the range of sounds on offer.

The atmospheric first song on the EP, The Looming, features haunting choral vocals that float over a rumbling bassline, punctuated by heavy drop-beats two minutes in. Com Ocean, the decidedly catchy single, marries a spindly steely guitar with singer Melissa’s sultry vocals. Layered over a disco beat, it hooks into your brain within seconds of hearing. Black Ops is a moody dark affair– with heavy knocking beats, a grinding bass line and muffled layered vocals.

In contrast with this is the sultry gloss of Sisters Lovers, where showy bell-like tones and breathy vocals play over a funky bassline. Broken English, a cover of Marianne Faithfull’s anti-war song, replacing Marianne’s raspy voice with the rich opulence of Melissa’s. It remains fairly faithful to the original but is like a dance music upgrade, supercharged with a buzzy synth bassline and heavy thumping beats.  LDW (Black Ops Remix) has ambient tones and watery sound effects, with heavy drop beats and echoing vocals.

The whole EP is something of a sensual delight. With songs averaging around five minutes they tend to grow on you, rather than being a case of in one ear and out the other. Not so much a quick listen as songs to immerse yourself in for a while. An accomplished treat for fans of electronica and disco noir; dance music with style and substance.


(released on Crash Symbols