The Put Outs is a band comprised of Mark Freifeld and Robin Anderson. They have only been around for about a year and a half and released Heart Surgery. This album embraces distorted guitars and busy drumming and has a drone like meditative quality to it some of the time. I definitely have some favorites amongst the songs. One thing I will say is that they have a pretty original sound and there were some sparks of brilliance that can hopefully be built upon.
The album starts with “Self-Loathing.” You are greeted with a distorted guitar and tom heavy drum beat. The song feels like a slow burn. That’s not a bad thing and in this case it works to their advantage because the vocal melody is catchy.
Up next is the ambient “Shirtless, loveless.” The song ends with the same energy it starts with. I have to admit I wanted some more dynamic moments from the music itself. The vocals carry the song although the tone and texture of the song paints a very nostalgic and pensive energy. The backing vocalist may be attempting humor when I heard “mother fucking shit” but it really didn’t seem to fit the mood they were painting.
“Whiskey For Breakfast” has its moments as a sort of anthem like sing along. “420” had some of the best music, especially the layering that happens towards the end. “Franco” is actually about James Franco. Similar to “Shirtless, loveless” the lyrics seemed too be humorous and have levity but the tone didn’t feel the same. “Horizon (Aldous Harding Cover)” is pretty interesting because of the instrument that sounded like an accordion.
Their best attempt at ambient music is on “Complacent=Vacant” which is an obvious highlight. The hushed vocals work very well on this song and so do the more subdued drums. It also pulls off some of the dynamics I was looking for. The best moments on the song, possibly on the whole album, are around the three-minute mark. It’s actually kind of beautiful in a Sigur Rós type of way.
“Again, Again” is a pretty solid song with notable vocal harmonies. “Headache (Grouper Cover)” is a valiant attempt at a beautiful song. They close with “Etherdad” which sort of sounded silly again but was hard to tell. I had conflicting emotions.
The Put Outs is a young band that have a lot of typical signs of a band in their embryonic stage. This is my opinion but I think you either have to go all in with humor or not. Their strength to my ears is a song like “Complacent=Vacant.” I think this song should be a sort of a foundation for the band as they evolve.
This is a band with a lot of talent and when they get the mood right they seem to thrive. I hope to hear them build on the fairly loose foundation they present on this album. There is a lot of potential with this release and I wish them luck as they evolve.
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