OUTCASTS, THE: Self Conscious Over You: LP

Northern Ireland is famous for Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones but Ulster and Belfast in particular spawned an entire sound in the late ’70s with bands like Rudi, Ruefrex, and the Outcasts making noises specific to the area and also made in the middle of a warzone. The Harp Bar in central Belfast was a haven away from sectarianism and violence in Belfast in the late-’70s where Protestants and Catholics could freely mingle and pogo to the new sounds (go dig into the politics of Northern Ireland if you get a second). The Outcasts did a handful of singles and a couple of LPs, but this, their debut, is an absolute masterpiece. Sing-a-long power pop at it absolute best. I have listened to this LP to death over the past thirty years and it sounds as fresh today as it did back then. There may have been a bootleg of the original a few years ago and all the songs float around on various compilations and the internet, but this appears to be a legit reissue. Put a gun to my head and let me leave with a handful of records; this fucker (my original) is coming. I can even fuck with the sax solo. Wonderful. –Tim Brooks (PHR, phr.cz)