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THE OUTSIDE "Hunting Ground" + "Rocket To Ride"
The Outside
CD / Shipping

The Outside "Hunting Ground" - BR085

The new album from The Outside is here and it’s several degrees dirtier than the first. Driven by the Australian Greg “J” Bowen who moved in Brittany in the 90’s, The Outside is a three piece powerful rock’n’roll band in the vein of Radio Birdman, Celibate Rifles, New Christs… “Hunting Ground” lays out its calling card in the opener “Nightchild” with its stuttering guitar and beefy backbeat and keeps hammering away with those credentials for the next 11 tracks. A must have album.






The Outside

The Outside "Rocket Ride" - BR072


Attention cet album est énorme ! Pour preuve il est déjà quasiment épuisé... L'Australien Greg Bowen mène d'une poigne de fer le combo breton qu'il a formé à l'occasion de son expatriation en Bretagne, lequel compte parmi ses membres un des pistoleros aguerri de la six cordes des TV Men (de même que l'ancien batteur des TV Men).
"Rocket Ride" s'inscrit dans la pure lignée de ce que le rock australien produit de mieux : Radio Birdman, Celibate Rifles, Bored! et compagnie. Enorme qu'on vous dit !


*********************** SOLD OUT *********************








HUNTING GROUND - The Outside
(Beast Records)

"The new installment from The Outside is here and it's several degrees dirtier and ballsier than the first. While "Hunting Ground" won't win the band membership of Mensa for its lyrical content or get them labelled 'prog rock' for pushing into new musical places, it's not meant to. In fact, if "Hunting Ground" were a girl you'd ask her to wipe the drool off her chin before taking her inside to meet Mum. Or at least have a shave.
The French aren't meant to rock but there are lots of bands from that part of the world that prove it doesn't have to be so. The Outside are another and while 66 percent of the membership claims a local birthright, guitarist-vocalist Greg "Birdman" Bowen is from Sydney and grew up on a steady diet of Spiders and Rifles. That little fact apart (which probably gives them a slight head-start), you can consider them as French as Johnny Halliday - only 100 times more rocking and rolling.
"Hunting Ground" lays out its calling card in the opener "Nightchild" with its stuttering guitar and beefy backbeat and keeps hammering away with those credentials for the next 11 tracks. Only on the closing "I Said Ireland" does it diverge from the rockin' straight and narrow, with bandleader Bowen bringing in a bunch of mates for a singalong lament. I think you had to be there for that one, presumably well-fueled.
"Nightchild" and "You Runaway" are an effective opening one-two combo while the title track drapes toasted feedback over the intro before getting down to more of that serious rocking business. Most of the balance are blunt girl-boy statements (I Want The Girl") or tunes about nightspots and people dropping by a drink ("A Night At The Spectrum", "Down At The Epicrie"), while "Shooting the Waves" is a country-ish rocker about surfing.
Like Steve Jones at his Berry-fied best, Bowen's guitar-work is relentless and his lead-work meaty and fluid with a good command of sustain and feedback. Some might say he's an even better judge of a glass of Jack Daniel's. While I have to declare a conflict of interest here and state that I've enjoyed the hospitality in the Bowen-owned Funhouse Pub in the Brittany town of Morlaix, I can't say I remember much apart from losing my backpack and falling asleep in a roast chicken supper. So if bassist Carol Rotch and drummer Lolo were there, here's an aplogy for not acknowledging them. Chinese was the official language by that stage of the night anyway.
Anyway, is it kosher to say their playing on "Hunting Ground" is about as tight as a Scotsman's grip on his wallet when it's his turn to buy a round? That's an analogy that's probably incomprehensible to the French, so I'll cut my losses before I insult any other nationalities. Or get a new gag writer.
Did you hear The Outside played a French festival in front of 60,000 people on a bill with Status Quo and Marilyn Manson? True story.
While Bowen's a singer in the Fred "Sonic" Smith mould it doesn't matter much in the scheme of things. Plus, if you're digging records like "Hunting Ground" and its predecessor "Rocket Ride" you're probably not a fan of The Polyphonic Spree anyway.
It's the guitar you're undoubtedly here for and Bowen leaves fellow ex-tennis pro Pat Cash for dead. He carves out his finest moments on "The Counting Song" and "I Want The Girl", again ably assisted by the deft production hand of Johnny Cat.
Rock solid effort, best consumed with a few Kronebourgs and Jack chasers." 
The Barman - www.i94bar.com

"Une bassiste qui se retrouve en soutif sur scène, ça fait grimper le taux de testostérone. Un guitariste qui nous vient direct de Sydney, ça booste la montée d'adrénaline. Un batteur qui envoie comme un bûcheron canadien, ça pulse le rythme cardiaque. Un groupe qui joue le rock'n'roll comme s'il devait mourir demain, ça vous file forcément des frissons partout, au-delà du raisonnable. Et c'est bien de ça dont il s'agit, de rock'n'roll, du vrai, du pur, du dur, du tatoué, du qui ne rigole pas quand il s'agit de s'enfoncer les doigts dans la prise, du qui dégouline de décibels qu'on se demande si y aurait pasun truc, du qui force les barrages routiers comme un Mad Max qu'on aurait
un peu trop cherché, du qui bourrine grave au point qu'on se demande si la hi-fi ne va pas fondre dès le troisième morceau, du qui réveillerait la libido de la Mère Denis si on en abusait, du qui pourrait bien vous faire perdre toute notion de bienséance à force de torgnoles et autres mornifles en mi ou en ré, du qui repousse les limites de la fission nucléaire grâce à quelques décharges électriques bien dosées et judicieusement placées, du qui chauffe à blanc toute personne de sexe féminin normalement constituée dans un rayon de quelques années-lumière autour de son point d'impact (et ça en fait de la petite culotte humidifiée tout ça), du qui vous gratte la couenne jusqu'au sang sans même vous laisser le moindre espoir de récupérer votre ADN intacte. Ouaip ! Rock'n'roll quoi !"
442eme Rue fanzine, n°81



ROCKET RIDE - The Outside (Beast Records)

"Attention, rock'n'roll à l'état pur ! Emmené par un chanteur-guitariste australien, Gregory Bowen, ce power-trio breton va mettre le feu aux poudres tant ce premier album flamboie et s'arrache les tripes. Un son énorme et enveloppant (production signée Jean Cataldo, évidemment), une guitare saignante et rugueuse (paraît que le sieur Bowen n'a eu besoin que d'une seule et unique prise à chaque fois, si c'est pas de la spontanéité çà), une section rythmique efficace et tenace, la recette idéale pour que ce rock'n'roll vibre de plaisir et nous shoote les neurones à grands coups d'accords rageurs et de refrains entêtants (tiens, un "Route 66" en goguette qui doit largement dépasser les vitesses autorisées sur ses highways). Jouant avec nos nerfs en alternant morceaux en overdrive et pseudo mid-tempos à peine plus ralentis, cet album nous prend au pelvis pour mieux nous démontrer que là est le fondement même de cette musique, dans cette région hautement ondulatoire, source de bien des émois testostéronés et oestrogènes. Le rock'n'roll c'est viscéral ou ça n'est pas, on ne reviendra pas là-dessus."
Fanzine 442eme Rue, n°63

"Saluons la naissance d'un nouveau label rennais, Beast Records, (drivé je crois par un membre du gang local Born In Flames) qui d'entrée balance une bonne baffe riffue avec le premier opus de The Outside, trio breton mené par l'Australien Greg Bowen. Rocket Ride contient son lot de hard punk velu, tempo caterpillar et déchirades de guitares intégrés. Une bonne voix, des refrains efficaces, une ballade heavy et tubesque ("Claire"), quelques giclées hargneuses dont une virée en territoire stoogien ("Tired To Look At You") plus une cover graisseuse de "Route 66"... Dans la lignée des gangs punk australiens à grosses guitares... De quoi headbanger toute la nuit, une cruche de lambic à portée de main."
Lo Spider, Dig It! fanzine, n°35

"Avec son 1er album, The Outside va droit au but, rock Australien or die... ça balance entre AC/CD, The Dubrovniks, The Screaming Tribemen et Hard-Ons... ça ne va pas chercher midi à quatorze heures, du bon gros rock à l'ancienne, en power trio, mid tempos et refrains qui ne font pas dans la finesse... des ingrédients qui ont fait les heures de gloire de label comme Citadel dans les mid 80's... efficace, profilé pour les amoureux de la santiag, conçu pour les passionnés de bières fraîches, bref du rock qui ne fait pas semblant... j'approuve et je conseille, riffs graisseux, solos wha-wha, attention, ça ne mégote pas sur la marchandise... encore une bien bonne galette produite par le très bon label rennais Beast Records (qui a également sorti Born In Flames, Orville Brody & Goodfellas...)."
Nasty Samy, Every Day Is Like A Sunday webzine.

"That's the not so subtle sound of impartiality being tossed out of a window from a considerable height, because this is a record by a mate's band. Having said that, rest assured that this is a F.G.R. (Fucking Great Record), any way you cut the cloth.
Singer-guitarist and writer of a dozen of the 13 tunes on "Rocket Ride" is Australian-born, French-based tennis pro-turned-publican, Greg "Birdman" Bowen, a guy with whom I've imbibed the odd cold drink or three over the years. Many will know him as the webmaster of fansite www.radiobirdman.com, so it wouldn't surprise to know he was brought up in Sydney on a steady diet of Citadel-styled bands in the '80s. The Celibate Rifles, the Lime Spiders, the Hitmen, the Trilobites and the Screaming Tribesmen all rocked Greg's world, in the shadow of the late, great and thankfully resurrected Radio Birdman. So a CD of gentle ballads, this is not.
What it also isn't is a collection of rip-offs of the above influences. Granted, The Outside are peddling a fairly orthodox brand of straight-up rock and roll - but sometimes simple is best - but there's no singularly obvious precursor. Rather, they tap into similar energy lodes and pull it all off convincingly. If pressed, I'd have to say there's a latter-day Exploding White Mice sensibility running through these songs, sans their Beach Boys harmonies. On second thought, the Mice in their dotage might have have been hard pressed to maintain this sort of pace. The album title is fitting.
Greg's last band, the ironically-named Kings of the Surf (France having a rep for world class surfers - not), served up a pretty fair album a few years back but asked him to move on as they wanted to be "more commercial". Their loss is The Outside's gain.
One of the outstanding things is the way Monsieur Bowen wrenches a beefy, full-throated tone out of his white, 1964 Epiphone Crestwood custom-made copy (formerly owned by a certain rockin' Doctor). Bearing in mind its lineage, you gotta have chutzpah to own one, let alone play it, and Bowen knows his way around a fretboard. Check out his fave song "Rockin' Down All the Way" for evidence.
Now it must be said that Gregory is blessed with a "guitar player's voice" - but then so do the majority of people whose music we spin at the I-94 Bar. Drummer Lorry Darth Vader (ex-TV Men) and bassist Miss Carole Rotch have similar musical outlooks to the bandleader and lock in as tight as a drum underneath these songs.
Some real knee-shatterers here, too, like the aforementioned "Rockin' Down...", "Bored" and "Take Me Back the Stone", a trio of barn-burners strategically placed in the middle of the tracking order. A strutting "All Around" and another medium-tempo, "Claire", vary the pace, both allowing for some especially fine lead guitarwork to bleed through the mix. The solitary cover is easily recognisable and you'd be right if you thought "Route 66" is a well-travelled road. In these hands it's undergone significant roadwork to differ significantly from the version Radio Birdman used to play. I'm sure there are lots of other odes to smallish Brittany towns out there but "Living Back in Morlaix" is the first to enter my lexicon. (Next he'll write one about his pub).
And the production by Johnny Cat at his own Rock On Studios in Rennes is first-class; lots of bottom end to anchor the firestorm and a live-sounding room. Minimal overdubs means you hear what The Outside would sound like live.
Here's the inside info on The Outside: They rock righteously. So don't let unfamiliarity stop you joining this party. One of the best things I've locked ears onto in 2005."
The Barman - www.i94bar.com
 
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