Shout Out Out Out Out – Spanish Moss and Total LossPosted by Alexis Diltz
Shout Out Out Out Out is stocked with drummers, bassists and futuristic synthesizers. In turn, the band fills up Spanish Moss and Total Loss with house dance beats and electro pop melodies. The feel-good, luscious songs let the band accomplish their goal of “helping themselves and listeners lighten the load of a heavier existence.”
Our ears aren’t burden by anything remotely jarring. There’s not a glimmer of a darker tone or an aggressive tempo throughout the album – even when a song escalates into more dramatic territory. Beats are never paused or slowed, so each number unfolds as smoothly as walking on air, with nothing to trip you up. Translated to the dance scene, this anti-gravity feeling can only create a crowd of tame, relaxed people contentedly dancing the day away.
Fluidity doesn’t stop at rhythm in the album. Shout Out Out Out Out stretches its reach to various genres with ease. “Never the Same Way Twice” even touches upon a little jazz as the layered and driving drums and bass shift in the last couple minutes to a saxophone solo. Not stepping out of beat with the song title, this is one of the only instances in the album where the song structure nearly spirals off the traditional course. The funk beat always prevails in each song, despite the occasional no wave concepts gleaming through. Rather than overwhelm, the textures add a little more depth and thought where the repetitive melodies might have otherwise become too simple to enjoy off of the dance floor.
Song titles layer in the emotionality that the instrumentation is missing. They’re often the tip-off that more serious undertones are being presented underneath the resilient, protective surface of the upbeat nature of Spanish Moss and Total Loss. The idea is apparent from the get-go with the first song “Now That I’ve Given Up, I Feel Much Better,” the second titled “How Do I Maintain Part 3” and the third “This Isn’t Helping.” The second two titles make the first seem like it was false hope – “feeling much better” was just a plan that is crumbling and the rest is just backtracking into misery. Disguised with a vocoder that throws the vocals to the bottom of the ocean, we’re only left to imagine that the lyrics discuss painful issues in their downcast, minor riffs and harmonies. “Lessons in Disappearing” is a rare glimpse into the actual lyrical content; the song is one of the few in which the title is actually audible and the melody is the closest to soaring (a jaunty contrast to the idea of trying to disappear).
The downtrodden lyrics don’t make the songs as a whole any less danceable. However, a consistent level of soft energy is maintained from song to song, and this lack of contrast is the true downfall of the album’s energy. This doesn’t mean that absolutely nothing stands out, but the instrumentation does skirt the line of monotony. “This Isn’t Helping” helps to spice things up by popping in a refreshingly pop-like tune, a little less encased in reverb and synth work than the rest of Spanish Moss and Total Loss.
It’s possible that the rhythmic group of six from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Nik Kozub, Jason Troock, Lyle Bell, Gravy, Will Zimmerman and Clint Frazier – have crafted something that isn’t necessarily edgy, but on the border. Calm isn’t always the first description for dance music, but it lends Shout Out Out Out Out a neutral, polished sound that is pleasantly different.