Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  Outside Closer  


Release Date:


Reviewed by:

Roughly four years later, Hood have returned with a follow-up to their breakthrough LP, Cold House. Like that earlier disc, Outside Closer is a rich blend of light guitarwork, British-accented vocals, and strange electronic sounds and effects. The truth of the matter here is that, in a sense, this is Cold House Part 2.

That said, i find after repeated listens that i like the sequel better than the original, on the whole. There is no song here as eerily beautiful as Branches Bare, but overall the music is better mixed and, well, a little more upbeat than it is on Cold House. Hood are just not a "puppies and rainbows" type of band, but Cold House seemed particularly bleak even for them, with the music buried under a weight of minor chords, sad vocals, and leaden skies. Outside Closer is more upbeat in a very slight way. The overall mood of this album is more positive than that of the previous one. I can't quantify this, but i know that i can listen to this album without thinking that i need to go take a nap in order to cheer up.

Outside Closer starts with (Int), a strange little dramatic intro of light guitar and dramatic wordless vocals that is over in 40 seconds. The Negatives follows, with a loping hand-clapped beat. This song builds to a nice guitar and strings drone in the middle, and is decent enough. The next tune, though, is one of Hood's best works. It's called Any Hopeful Thoughts Arrive and begins with a stuttering drum machine chugging out an intense little beat. To this, Hood add layers of guitar arpeggios, voice, strings, bass, and horns. I love when Hood use those melancholy, long, slow horn notes that they use, and here the horn provides a delightful contrast to the guitarwork and voice. This is a lovely, complex song, with a lot going on in it.

Hood follow with End of One Train Working. This is a slower number, with slight guitar and mellow strings. The thing that i like best about this tune is the vocal layering. Well, not so much layering as production i guess. Basically, if you listen on headphones it sounds like, standing in the background at the recording studio, was someone singing slightly off key and clapping their hands enthusiastically to the song. It makes for a real fun feel, despite the song's slow pace. The next tune, Winter 72, is noisier, showing that Hood still own all of those distortion pedals which they started off their career with. This song sounds like what i would imagine a collaboration between Lee "Scrach" Perry and Sonic Youth would sound like. It's interesting, but i know that this song will annoy people with a low "noise tolerance threshold".

The Lost You is next, and i will stand with what i said about this song in my review of the single that it comes from. Basically, this song's heavily cut and pasted beat was off-putting at first, but the lovely melody won me over, and i have to concede that is a really cool tune.

Hood follow this with another great tune, Still Rain Fell, which starts with light drums, strings, and guitar. The voice sounds great here, almost more confident than it normally is. Towards the end, the whole song gets nicely dubby, with heavily echoed drums. It fades into a song titled 1. Fading Hills (yes, it lists the number on the track listing!). This is a mellow meandering tune that features some really nice echoed piano and horn work in the middle. It's a pleasant song, but not the strongest on this album.

Up next is Closure, which starts with a nice thunking drum beat, and a sample of someone walking across a wooden floor to play piano. An interesting effect, and the drum beat is really great here. Then horns and guitar come in, and this song meanders along nicely for seven and a half minutes (making it the longest tune on this album). It is a fun, complex song built out of layers of strings, voice, drums, guitar, and horns, all competing with each other. Very lovely.

Finally, Hood end with a sort of musical post-script, a short tune called This Is It Forever. This track mostly consists of a low organ drone with some distorted voice. It sounds sad, as it slowly drifts off…

I really like this record. I think it takes what Hood have been doing lately, and does it better and in an more upbeat fashion. Hood continue to blend indie rock, post-rock, and IDM together into a fun and organic whole.

That last song title though. Surely they don't mean it? This can't be IT, can it? Well, i for one hope it's not. Hood can take all the time the need, if they keep putting out albums this wonderful.

Related Links:
  EP: Home Is Where It Hurts
Album: Cold House
Concert: Mon.18.Mar.02
Concert: Wed.27.Mar.02
Single: You Show No Emotion at All
Split 7": You Shins Break My Heart (with Themselves)
EP: The Lost You

Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.