The Outfield: lacking with ‘Diamond Days‘

By Sean Leary

The Outfield hs been one of the most consistent bands of the last five years. Each album this group has released has been full of guitar pop branded with the distinctive Outfield sound: jangly guitar melodies, flying harmonies, all bubbling over a groove rock rhythm section.

Not that it’s been a bad stretch by any means, as the West London band have put together a string a memorable hits, punctuated by solidly impressive pop albums. Their latest album “Diamond Days” continues that tradition, but compared to their previous efforts, it’s a bit lacking.

“Diamond Days” is not a bad album. In fact it is a good effort with a few true highlights, but when compared to “Play Deep,” or “Voices of Babylon,” (both which were full of strong songs and no weak ones) “Diamond Days” is merely good, as opposed to great.

The sound of the band has changed a bit, as they’ve lost their drummer and with him, their trademark rock percussion. This doesn’t have quite the punch of their previous harder sound, and the lack of the jagged guitars in lieu of a more groove-oriented sound leaves The Outfield sounding like a scream without an exclaimation point.

The songs that work best are the extremely catchy “For You” and the tumbling anthems “One Night In Heaven” and “Take it All.”

“For You,” the first single from the album, is also the centerpiece; an unforgettable classic pop track. Starting with a breezy keyboard it moves into a weeping guitar riff and wan chord changes replete with typically romantic “lost love” lyrics. The chorus is a harmonic rush that fills with sound like a heart exploding in sudden infatuation and surprise after finding a box full of old love letters.

Pop sngs have long been the staple of radio, and when done right they have a kind of universal quality that anyone who has ever felt for someone can identify with. It’s like eating candy – it may not be nutricious but it sure does taste good. The Outfield creates songs that are candy for the ears, and that is where they have excelled. “Diamond Days” tries to stretch beyond that, with songs like “John Lennon” which itself sounds too schmaltzy with its string arrangements and simple lyrics. The Outfield get points for tring to expand, but they stll sound best when they sick to the sound that they created.