Late in 2017 I came across Downtime b/w Plans, a new EP from a young UK band that had essentially zero profile. The Birmingham doomgaze quartet Outlander showed up while I was combing post-rock releases on Bandcamp and their massive, slow-burning blend of textured heaviness, swirling noise and deeply emotional melodic style immediately resonated with me. I rushed to create a Spotlight piece on the band for the blog I was writing with at the time, and locked Outlander in to the A Thousand Arms Hemispheres, Vol. II comp that was soon to be released.
The response to their track “Downtime” was noticeable and it became clear that the band was on to something, even if to that point they had been working in relative obscurity. I kept in touch with them and in the summer of this year they shared demos for their upcoming release The Valium Machine with me, and I was exhilarated by what I heard. Without engaging in hyperbole, this is one of the most exciting records I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in some time, a true high point in a subgenre that has picked up growing momentum over the past few years. As someone who spends a lot of time with post-rock I often find myself craving something fresh and challenging and invigorating, and I have firm belief that the new material from this band will satisfy those requirements for anyone lucky enough to come across it. With this in mind, we at Heavy Blog are thrilled to play a role in a wider discovery of Outlander, and today we bring you “Sinking,” the first single from The Valium Machine.
The band brings a new element into the fold right from the start, adding a layer of whispery vocals that are buried within the wall of noise but fight through the mix enough to make an emotional impact and impart an extra melodic texture that serves the track perfectly. The pacing is deliberate, but the track nevertheless moves with purpose, propelling ever forward in its own measured fashion, painstakingly building drama and wringing every bit of power out of simple riffs. “Sinking” is a huge track that allows listeners room to float through its sprawling, spacious soundscape, but it doesn’t present as background music. It lives and breaths and pulses like a heartbeat through a series of crescendos, enveloping you in warm, heavy blankets of sound, the rare track that is capable of being deeply engaging while also facilitating soothing detachment.
We hope you enjoy “Sinking” as thoroughly as we do, and please take the time to familiarize yourself with Outlander through their first two releases, Downtime b/w Plans and Take Turns b/w I’ll Get Mine Too, both of which are available through their Bandcamp page. The Valium Machine emerges in full in early 2019 – get on board now so you can say you did before all your friends.