Adam Brinson grew up learning to sing harmony with the humming outboard motor of a boat in a small rural town. Named for this, The Outboards is a current band hailing from North Carolina, but the warm, sunny music on their self-titled album The Outboards is reminiscent of older times and sandy places on the West Coast.
The album’s classic beach rock & roll theme is made clear in “Beyond The Means” and “Get Mine,” the first two songs on the album. Steady drums and bass lay a foundation to bright, smooth guitars, harmonious vocals and catchy lyrics. There is a good amount of backup vocals in the songs, which provides layers and substance to the mix.
“Pungo” focuses on a minor chord progression and its staccato mannerisms give way to an edgy feel without losing the enthusiasm of the first few tracks. The record’s energy continues to flow through “Reservoir” and builds in “Downstream,” an interestingly experimental song that incorporates unconventional chords and unexpected melodies into an accessible tune that brings variety to the album.
Although the individual instruments don’t change drastically through the record, the style in which they are played is altered according to the aura the band wants to project onto a song. For instance, “Chatham Park” alternates between sweet fingerpicking and hard-hitting power chords, exuding an impressive contrast within one track. “The Ride” employs a swinging rhythm, which further differentiates the song from the other songs on the album.
The last three songs of the record are not extremely different from the rest of the album, but “In This Body” seems to be a touch more reserved and reflective in vocals and lyrics. The haunting riffs and melodic tunes within the track carry the album to its end in a solemn, yet cheery way. As a whole, The Outboards is a great album and clearly exhibits the reason so many listeners are drawn to such music.
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