Saturday, 6 July 2013

Review of ‘The Outsiders’ - the great new album by The Universal (Buster Records)

The Universal have just released their second album, ‘The Outsiders’, and what a fine long player this is.

With production crisper than an iceberg lettuce and the band tighter than a tight drum on a tight day, Terry Shaughnessy’s songwriting skills throughout this 11-song collection put him at the forefront of original material that is keeping Mod modern in 2013.

The album starts with, ‘If You Want It’, which is meaty, beaty, big and bouncy and is so radio friendly it begs to be a future A-side. The musicianship on this track (including Terry on Hammond) is truly breathtaking and a powerful start to proceedings.

Track 2 is ‘Choke’ and this is the first single to be taken from the album and has a much more indie feel about it. ‘Let it Reign’ comes next and has flavours of some of Paul Weller’s best early solo recordings whilst ‘The Worshippers’ is just a magnificent song that will have the ‘Here Come The Worshippers’ line lodged in your brain for ages. Next up is ‘Is This England?’; a reaction to the general malaise and mediocrity that seems to be sweeping our nation.

One of my favourite songs on here is ‘Hanging in Space’ which has a feel of something from The Beatles ‘White Album’ mixed in with a ‘Changing Man’ descending progression. A quality recording indeed. ‘Superman’ is next with its intense, tenacious riff and again gives me a feel of Weller at his best.

‘Don’t be Fooled’ is another powerful and catchy number which, in my opinion, would be another great candidate for a future A-side, whilst ‘This is War’ is another song demonstrating the Fire’n’Skill of a certain Woking musician (again, this is mentioned in a very positive way).

The album wraps up with another fabulous song, title track ‘The Outsiders’, which along with ‘The Worshippers’, feels like core ‘Universal’ ground in terms of originality, talent and musicianship.

Overall, this is one of the best albums of 2013 so far and I am blown away with Terry’s songs and all of The Universal’s recordings on ‘The Outsiders’ album – I’d love to hear it played ‘live’ from start to finish. I would recommend that you buy this album immediately or miss out at your peril.

Paul Hooper-Keeley

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