With a chronologically ordered retrospective, you expect to hear gradual progression as the years go by, but The Outcasts seem to be more easily split between two distinct phases. There’s the Good Vibrations era: an adolescent, out of tune, ramshackle, triumph of attitude-over-ability punk, from 1978-79. Then there’s the Abstract/New Rose/own label, now-we-can-play/big rock sound era from 1980-85: all big hair and bullet belts with spaghetti Western, rockabilly, dub and glam influences coming through.
The Outcasts simply soaked up influences. Theatre Of Hate seemed to inspire the look and sound of phase two, but throughout, they retained their own dogged, macho identity. Through Gangland Warfare, Beating & Screaming, Magnum Force and Nowhere Left To Run, the fantasy outlaw was played toï¿½death. By 1984 they allied themselves with psychobilly, perhaps the last pure rebel music left, and musically, blew the competition away. From selfconscious teenage rebel songs, I Don’t Want To Be No Adult, to the rockabilly wipe-out of Seven Deadly Sins, via the glitterstomp dub of The Running’s Over, Time To Pray, a game of two halves is played out in these 27 songs.