Monday, November 09, 2020

Miss The National? Maybe it's time to step OUTSIDE then!

Photo via the OUTSIDER Facebook page
Look, I enjoy and appreciate and genuinely really like The National—I booked one of their earliest Chicago appearances way back when—but I am not a superfan by any means.* But this year has honestly given fans two de facto The National albums: Matt Berninger's solo album and Aaron Dessner's little album with some singer named Taylor Swift both carry the group's aesthetic beyond its core members.**

But maybe that's not enough for you?

If not, might I recommend OUTSIDER a.k.a Seán Ó Corcoráin? His debut Karma of Youth has all the aural benchmarks of The National but gives it a slight twist so every song brims with exultant choruses, twisting the darkness into the light to reveal a mixture more beautiful than the equation on paper might imply.

Karma of Youth came out in April, so you are again forgiven for missing 'em. And my apologies for taking so long to write about them, because I liked them enough when I first heard Karma Of Youth earlier this year that I went ahead and bought the album because sometimes when something's this solid you've just GOTTA have the WAV files, right?

Oh, one other thing—as the album progresses yes, you're gonna start asking yourself if this is what it might sound like if Berninger and Dessner added Jack Antonoff to their weekly songwriting coffee klatsch, and admit it, reading that makes you wanna hear this even more. In fact, I'll admit that the Bleachers influence actually grows stronger as the album goes on, so sorry if that's a spoiler or too easily explains why I fall under OUTSIDER's spell so thoroughly each time I spin this album, but it's a fact.

And to Mr. Ó Corcoráin, I'm sorry for resorting to the "compare your sound to other bands' sounds" tactic here, but sometimes RIYL really is a strong argument to make in a short span of time, right?

*Every time I walk past Big Star in Wicker Park I wonder if the patrons eating near the rear of the room realize that The National once played in that tiny space.
**For the record, I thought the first was a nice Sunday listen and the second was pretty terrific all around, so I'm not knocking either effort in the least. I'm not a superfine but I am certainly a fan!

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