It's out of the mansion squat and into the limelight for Liverpool's best new band
An eccentric lawyer called Roland moves out of his enormous mansion and lets you and 20 mates live there for minimal rent and maximum nihilism. Would you ever leave? Clearly, no. Which makes Liverpool five-piece Outfit’s move from The Lodge – their borrowed Merseyside palace – down to the arse end of the Thames in search of the big time either incredibly dumb, or the smartest move of their lives.
Given the creepy, noir wisdom of their few songs available so far – think Wild Beasts and Franz Ferdinand collaborating to soundtrack a classy ’50s police drama – the latter sounds like an unusually safe bet.
A couple of hours before playing their first non-Liverpool gig – they’re keen to make live outings select “events”, and boy, is tonight’s casually confident show worth writing home about – they’re talking over each other through mouthfuls of pizza in a Brighton pub, outdoing the memories of mansion life. “The landlord would come over and scream Gilbert & Sullivan songs at you!” laughs guitarist Nick Hunt. “The biggest party we ever had was probably 300, 400 people in the house,” fires back Andrew, Nick’s brother. “We’d project Chatroulette onto the walls,” interrupts Tom Gorton, who shares tempered, rousing vocal duties with Andrew. “There’d be massive cocks everywhere.”
This 24/7 Skins-meets-Blessing Force lifestyle is pretty anachronistic to the suave slink of Outfit’s music – after all, this is a band who previously drew a pie chart to illustrate their influences (amazing), and like to talk about having a “post-everything identity”. “Living with 20-odd people can enforce social segregation,” explains Tom. “You end up feeling quite disconnected in this busy environment,” adds Andrew. “That comes through in the yearning melancholy of our sound quite a lot.”
Once life started feeling like a constant after-party and the unambitious shyness of their peers started to grate, it was time for the band to leave the mansion. “We needed to feel scared, frightened and unsure of ourselves,” says Tom. There was also the small matter of wanting the whole world to hear their music. “It’s our life’s work,” they intone with near-creepy synchronicity.
Outfit have got confidence and anthemic singles in spades. It doesn’t seem mad to suggest that they might be returning Roland the favour one day. Laura Snapes
Need To Know
For Fans Of: Wild Beasts, Roxy Music
Catch Them Live: The band play Manchester (Oct 10), Leeds (12), and London (15)
Buy It Now: Debut Single 'Two Islands'/'Vehicles' is out now
Believe It Or Not: Andrew and Tom were both in boy bands in primary school. Andrew was in The Delinquents. Tom was in Jinx. He is adamant he was not a rapper.