Review Summary: Although their lyrics may make you want to 'Jump Out Of Your Car' if you listen through to the end I'm sure that you will 'Believe' that there is no better synth-hop band 'Out There'.
Slated by the press. Ignored by the reviewing elite and altogether despised by anyone with an opinion in music. Well let me opine. This band is great. Why? They have effortlessly given us a polished amalgamation of 80s synth pop and white boy rap that, rather that letting the latter erase the former’s credibility, gives us an extremely enjoyable collection of squishy Korg riffs.
This, enhanced by the simple rapping of its dual front men Jarvis Anderson and Sam Martin, actually sounds very pleasing to the naked ear. These guys know how to operate a synth and equally know where to place a bass line. From the plodding opening keys on the anthemic ‘In This City’ to the head bopping of Jump Out Of Your Car’ we are taken on a journey through the annals of pop.
They claim their choruses are inspired strictly by Tom Petty and, while this is debatable when heard, their verses are pure Limp Bizkit fodder. I still can’t get my head round the fact that this does not bother me. Here is a line from their lead single ‘In This City’:
“Close those doors / Close those doors now / Now, now, just keep em open / Keep em open / Yea, keep em open / I’ll keep on, keep keep on going / Taking it in so, so heavy / Take it easy son, this ain’t so deadly.”
This arrangement of words read on their own will invoke the derision of anyone so much as fleetingly acquainted with the English language yet put them in-between the delightful retro keyboard fills, life affirming vocals and catchy guitar licks and you can only nod your head and admit to yourself that this is good, well crafted pop-rock.
The opener, ‘Believe’ does not sound anything like Tom Petty. Neither, honestly, does the rest of the album as they claim, but rest assured the chorus is an astounding display of vocal ingenuity that gets itself firmly lodged in any listeners head. Iglu and Hartly keep the lyrics vague (When it comes to what/ We believe/ It’s you in every way, you in every way/ It’s you), obviously so as not to get in any way deep or personal. After all, in person they look like nothing more that a collection of surfer-dudes jonesing for their next weed baggy, so to expect any emotional revelations would be ridiculous .
Songs like ‘Violent and Young’ with its pounding bass drum and epic guitars down to the laid back stoner-tune of ‘Whatever We Want’ showcase a band whose themes focus on guy-love (in the hetero sense), male camaraderie, the quest for women (lots of em judging by the testosterone filled liner notes) and surfing. Their ode to youth and freedom, ‘Day-Glo’, sounds as if it was directly lifted form 1986 and sprinkled with some 90s hip hop sensibilities. ‘Jump Out Of Your Car’ has seemingly more inspired lyrics than the rest of the record and benefits greatly from it too with lines like:
“Me and my shiny gold hair / And my shiny white teeth / Eventually enchanted with their newly crowned king / They follow me with pictures of myself / They just ripped out the magazine / No time for autographs / I got places to be / Gotta race around the world / Until there’s nothing to see.”
Jarvis Anderson seems quite aware of the celebrity circus that can follow a band which has garnered as much hype as this one. Indeed throughout the album he distinguishes himself from his fellow MC Sam Martin as the more verbally astute of the two.
The song meanings are vague, the verses are nonsensical to say the least but what Iglu and Hartly provide us with is a theme, an all round idea we can relate to through feeling without directly applying their words to our own lives. You can dance to these songs, sing along too, heck show ‘em to your friends. Just don’t try to find any poetic resonance or emotional depth beneath the catchy surface because what Iglu and Hartly give us is effortless pop; chewing gum for the ear. Nothing more, nothing less…and it’s quite marvellous.