The Outcasts Tell Me the Whole Story 2xLP
This appears to be the first complete and definitive singles / EPs collection from this Belfast group. The ’78–’79 material is classic jagged-edged adolescent punk with a dash of that mandatory pop that’s evident in basically every Irish punk band from the ’70s. Sort of akin to more distinguished and catchy ’70s punk like THE ADVERTS, but far more juvenile. I hadn’t previously ventured into the ’80-’85 material, and turns out they predictably become more refined, with prominent new wave tendencies, but the tunes remain enjoyable, or at least listenable. Song themes don’t stray far from love, adolescent misogyny, street life, or inspiration from whatever the songwriter was reading at the time. “I wrote this song about a girl I was dating. She told me one day she was now a Christian, so this line came to me: ‘you’re a disease babe / your faith’s a disease I don’t wanna catch.’” Each song gets a little blurb or anecdote from the main songwriter Martin Cowan, laid out across a gatefold sleeve with the original sleeve art of each single and EP. The whole thing sounds great, and appears to be about as faithful of a collection as anyone could hope for.