Every now and again, I miss an album. It happens, as I can’t cover everything, but when I miss a great one, it freaks me out. Houston’s Far Out doesn’t play a lot, so maybe that’s it. But their 2015 album Universe is an album I wish I hadn’t missed when it came out. Full of intensity and plenty of hooks, it’s like The Muffs mixed with hints of Thee Oh Sees and Diarrhea Planet thrown together. It’s one of the most solid records I’ve heard, resulting in a sound that comes from many places to create something seemingly new and fresh.
Starting off with the somber opening of “Smile and Laugh,” the band builds things up to let listeners know there’s a storm coming. When it hits, it goes hard with a nice energy that echoes pop punk leanings without being as formulaic as the bulk of the genre. The snappy pace and grinding guitar make for a mixture that pays off in folds and never loses your attention. This continues on the half-step slower sounds of “Blue Hawaii,” where the stride of the song meanders about but still holds the listener. With remnants of bands like Hum and early Weezer, the song doesn’t copy either, but reminds you of a time when rock was just rock and nothing else. They hold to their pop leanings on the third track, “No Worries,” and if radio stations were paying attention, this track would have made the band stars by now. The song is a quick two minute jam that has two hooks that latch on and hold tight, so well that you’ll think this was a major label release. In a perfect world, the anthemic nature of the song would’ve earned the band a fat royalty check from all of the commercials it could have been placed in.
By the fourth song, “Stare Into The Sun,” you should already be a fan, as these guys’ strong suit is writing catchy tunes. There’s something about how they compose that makes each track stick with you. There’s a nice gain level on the guitar that makes it less sneering yet not feeling too polished, creating rock gold. While the fifth track “Pretty Ugly” reminded me of nineties Southern California alt, the sixth track “Future Memories” has a real seventies meets eighties vibe. The song reminds you of those catchy tunes that came from Australian or British bands from the era that never really fit into a genre. With a moderate speed, the track immediately sticks with you and makes you wonder how you could have missed out on the album’s release.
While they slow things down with the opening of “No Violence, No Affection,” the song doesn’t kill the energy of the album either. The longest of the eleven tracks on the album, the song has a depth that isn’t on any of the others, paced by a driving bass line that mixes perfectly with the guitar and the drums to create sheer rock magic. This continues on the snappier speed of the following two songs, “Say Goodbye” and “No One Gets Out Alive,” where the speedy nature of the songs maintains the high energy of the album. The band adds a little more depth with the catchy sounds of “Wishing the Best For The Universe” before closing the record out with the quick sounds of “Pretty Ugly.” With a full throttled intensity and a memorable and succinct sound, the song is the best way to cap off an amazing collection of songs. There’s no real secret to what Far Out is doing here. The album is pretty straightforward and without pretension, just an in-your-face good times rock album that shouldn’t be missed.
Far Out will open for JEFF The Brotherhood at The Secret Group on June 7. The all ages show has Houston’s We Were Wolves on as well, with doors at 8 pm and a $12 cover.
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