OUTLYA @ The Sunflower Lounge, 19 March 2018

Every few years a band comes around that defines a generation. Their sound is unique yet familiar, their persona is memorable but approachable. For the past few years bands like Coldplay and Mumford and Sons have popped up in such a category and while these bands are still very much forces in the music world there is a growing gap for the newcomers, the next big band. OUTLYA has the potential to be the next big thing, joining the ranks among the greats filling in one of these newcomer slots.

The young band has only been around for a year and yet their evolving sound and growing fan base bring about the hopes of a promising future. Mixing sonic elements from electronic, rock, blues, singer songwriter, pop music and more, OUTLYA creates exciting and engaging songs that are at both times giddy pop and empathetically reflective. Their craft extends to the way they curate their brand, a wise mixture of colors based around blue. We had a quick chat with lead vocalist Will before their headlining slot at The Sunflower Lounge.

A lot has happened since we last saw OUTLYA. Along with releasing a handful of singles that Will affectionately calls the “H trilogy” OUTLYA also released EP Volcanoes and a more recent single ‘White Light.’  For a young band their release schedule has been impressive and while it may seem like a short period the band still finds their sound to be evolving. Will explains that they have “distilled” their sound a bit since the beginning, “we are learning from things we have done before, things change naturally but we came from being a straight up guitar band and now with this band we wanted to show off a few more of our interests and influences.” These interests and influences align with an amalgamation of sound that is ultimately grounded by pop and electronic undertones, a slight rock edge mixed in. One standout of each song is big vocals, not only is it a way to show off their impressive harmonizing skills but the vocals also allow their fans to come in. Affectionately calling them the ‘choir’ Will and band mates create with fans in mind, something obvious during their live show.

The mature clearly defined sound is apparent in recent single ‘White Light.’ The bright and bold song combines the ‘idiosyncrasies of our writing’ with bombastic sonic moments, the perfect pump up single. Will reflects that the song has been “sat in our set for ages so its nice to give it its moment,” but they are also looking forward to most likely “releasing a few more tracks before summer.” Some of these tracks where on display during their headlining slot at The Sunflower Lounge, a milieu of emotion and sound that supplied banger after banger. The vivacity of their sound is mirrored in their curation of aesthetics. OUTLYA not only create engaging songs but they also create an experience, the total package that transports listeners to another dimension. It is no happy chance, rather OUTLYA “take real care and passion” in every detail they create. Their colour-coded uniforms, their curated social media, all of it play into the brand that is OUTLYA and fans are eating it up.

At The Sunflower Lounge after powerhouse openings from Grafton Ash and The Tin Pigeons OUTLYA delivered an awe-inspiring performance, capturing each heart and mind.  Pumped up rock “Heaven” kicked off the night, the genuine excitement spilling out in waves. It is the type of energy rush that has become synonymous with OUTLYA, they are here for a good time and you don’t have a choice but to join in. Pop infused “Higher’ and a few uptempo sentimental reflective tunes balanced the waves of energy. Electronic laced banger “Call My Name” reverberated through the crowd, the new song displaying the confident sexy songs that are unearthed from the bands time in the studio.

A handful of new songs continued, escalating in energy before taking a melodic and calm route. With the longer set time the boys are able to create an emotional wave to their set, bringing energy but also important moments of calm, a hypnotic trance controlled by the sage musicians. Single ‘White Light’ blares through the speakers and fans are elated; as everyone claps along OUTLYA rips the bouncy pop tinged tune that is unique and varied yet comfortably familiar. With soaring vocals “Volcano” spurs through, the choir of fans joining in poignant moments of bliss. A handful of new songs round out the set and fans stand motionless stunned by the performance they just witnessed.

OUTLYA is a matchless blend of genuine talent and genius, they understand the music they enjoy and want to hear but also see how to push that sound forward in progressive leaps creating new sounds. Their sonic genius is paired with their brand sensibilities so that when you come to an OUTLYA show or dive into the OUTLYA world you are immersed in a total and complete experience. It is this exceptional balance of persona and passion that push me to claim OUTLYA as the possible next big thing. Like the bands that went before them they create genuinely enticing, electric sound that you immediately relate to and fall in love with. Along with that they create a world that is splashed in colour and symbolism, a world that you yearn to be a part of. Plus they are just nice dudes, and you can’t mess with an authenticity that is often overlooked.

Compiling a total package of perfection OUTLYA not only delivered an epic set at The Sunflower Lounge but they once again opened the curtain for a momentary glimpse into their bright and bold future.

Reviewer/Interviewer: Kylie McCormick

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