The post-punk band Outer Rooms from Toronto played The Capital Complex in Fredericton on Sept. 21, a Maritime stop on their current Eastern Canadian tour. The band is touring to promote their second LP Even in the Cannon’s Mouth released Sept. 15.
A trio, the band is composed of Sean Fitzpatrick on guitar and vocals, Andrew Fitzpatrick on keyboard and vocals and Owen Buckland on drums and vocals as well. Their latest album differs from their debut album, Worldless Fantastic, in terms of production, and it gives the album a raw emotional tone and mood.
“This album was written fairly quickly, especially in contrast with Worldless Fantastic as it was written over the course of a year and a half, while the latest album was written in about four months between January and April of 2017,” said Sean Fitzpatrick.
This method seems to capture an unrefined creativity that allows the listener to hear the music in a form that is unadulterated as possible. This, coupled with the fact that it was recorded over five days straight with producer Jeff McMurrich, gives the LP a “stripped-down sound.” Sean said the band “wanted it to sound like what you would hear if you saw the band live. But doing it in such a short time frame was a way to limit ourselves from anyone overdubbing or editing.”
This rawness and fast production are appropriate for the album’s rather personal themes. “We were mainly just picking up on the things that we were concerned with politically or personally, or anything else concerning that was affecting our lives. Whether that was the rise of right-wing fascist organizations, or any overall doom and gloom rhetoric affecting our daily lives,” said Sean.
This contemplation of worries led to what Sean describes “as a hopeful state of sadness,” particularly represented in their song “Misty” from their new record, since it’s “about someone finding love and those feelings of acceptance and a caring person, while they’re having a really hard time of breaking out of their bad habits.”
Outer Rooms’ performance at The Capital Complex on Sept. 21 captured that feeling to a degree, although the small space on the bottom floor coupled with the loud speakers creates a louder, angrier feeling. However, their performance showed a lot of their unique style and the reason the band chose to label themselves as a “post-punk” band.
“We’re not really punk enough to be a ‘punk band.’ We grew up listening to a lot of emo and post-hardcore, but into our twenties we started listening to more rhythmic music like Talking Heads and Elvis Costello, and then we were listening to more modern bands like LCD Soundsystem and really early stuff like Ben Folds Five,” said Sean. “I know those aren’t technically post-punk, but it was about trying to find a genre that fit our interests, and post-punk is a big umbrella with lots of creative room.”
While the show was unfortunately under-attended, there was still a crowd of people enjoying the band’s sound, and their energy made up for the low energy of a smaller audience. While playing a small venues, it was still clear that the band was having plenty of fun on tour.
As Sean said, Outer Rooms’ “main hope with this is that people have a really good time and that when we’re touring it’s just amazing to see different parts of the country and experience different people react to our music. That’s all we really want, to see people that we don’t know dancing.