Review Summary: Retro haven.
If you have a love for the thunderous and roaring vintage synths of the Nintendo/SEGA games, over the top blockbuster action flicks, and new wave movement of the 1980s, for nostalgic purposes or otherwise, then chances are you’ll probably be quite fond of the debut album from French producer Vincent Belorgey’s character Kavinsky. The concept behind it all is that Kavinsky crashed his hot ride, a gleaming red Testarossa, in 1986, and has returned in the 21st century as a zombie, bringing all the authentic glam and glory of mullets, radical wheels, high school sports jackets, and snazzy leather jackets with the collar popped back from the grave with him. That’s exactly the type of ambience listeners should expect Outrun
to set, and this has much more impact than just a mere blast from the past, as this house music revives the glory days of the EDM scene at its peak with more style than you can shake a stick at.
There’s inevitably going to be cheese here, but it’s a guilty pleasure type of cheese, just enough to show that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and can poke fun at the same era it glorifies, and it’s all well-balanced out by an undeniable sense of cool that flows through every track in a smooth current. The hard rock guitar whines give this period-piece a stadium-sized aura that reinforces its ability to completely immerse listeners in a culture where smoke machines set the atmosphere on a warm Miami night. Outrun
manages to sound fresh, yet timely because it doesn’t fall victim to precise imitation. It takes qualities about what it emulates and intertwines them together through Daft Punk-esque techniques in ways that are new and different, but are still very reminiscent of the spacey 16-bit soundtracks of days gone by.
The only detracting issue is that while the overarching atmosphere that brings to mind roller blades and neon-lit arcade machines works in general, the tracks themselves can start to feel same-old after a while, and many pale in comparison to the swooning suave of “Nightcall”, which many will be familiar with as the track that casts the retro spell over the soundtrack of the very fitting 2011 film Drive
It’s has a very specific mood that never wavers for a second, and while it may not be the sort of thing for everyone, Outrun
has the ability to make one nostalgic of a certain spot in time, even if they hadn’t experienced it themselves.