Straight from the farmlands of Indiana come Outerfield, who will drop their new album May 3. It’s entitled Pleasant Grove Hotel.
Made up of Matt Hutson (guitar, piano, bass, vocals, mellotron) and Gary Schrader (guitar, bass), who got together while playing in a church worship band, the two musicians, along with Jon Auer of The Posies began working on a record that lacked focus. Still, production went forward until the bottom dropped out. In the end, they abandoned the undertaking, putting the whole thing on ice.
Eventually, Hutson and Schrader decided to give the project another whirl. As they did so, they discovered the songs were about just that – starting over. In that sense, the album is profoundly personal, covering subjects like childhood ordeals, family problems, and isolation.
According to Outerfield, “The album is about the space it takes to put your life back together after everything has fallen apart. Not unlike the experience of making the record, which was shelved for four months and expected to never come out.”
Encompassing eleven-tracks, the album starts things off with “Wondering If You’re Real,” opening on bluesy, drawling, dirty guitars. When the rhythm enters, riding a thumping kick drum and plump bass line, the melody rolls with deep resonance topped by Hutson’s potent, clear voice. I love the tasty vocal harmonies filling the backdrop – “oooh, oooh.”
From a subjective perspective, the best tracks on the album include “Dust,” a potent, grunge-flavored tune with grinding dirty guitars on a loose-feeling raw rhythm, crunching and brawny. “Voices” is reminiscent of Jackson Browne, probably because of the violin flavors and the inflection of Hutson’s voice, smooth and nostalgic.
“After The Party” reflects Outerfield’s delicious ragged-around-the-edges harmonics, which gives their music an underdone savor. It’s a sound that’s hard to replicate or deliver deliberately. It’s irresistibly contagious and fresh.
“Throwing Your Life Away” projects hints of southern blues rock riding on a grand rhythm backed by radiant harmonies. There’s a stellar guitar solo in this song, rough and ready, but not overly embellished.
For a fact, all the tracks on Pleasant Grove Hotel are scrumptious, full of visceral grunge-flavored tones and alluring vocals.