Gun Outfit, “Out of Range”

Gun Outfit
Out of Range
PARADISE OF BACHELORS
7/10

Sometimes revelations hit quick, all bright flash, at once, completely, like Saul blinded by cosmic light on the road to Damascus. But more often than not—for us regular types—they come slow if at all, unfurling over time. It’s in this spirit that California’s Gun Outfit offers Out of Range, the group’s fifth full-length, a record full of drawn-out recognitions.

Vocalists Carrie Keith and Dylan Sharp bring no shortage of self-knowledge to the table this go-around, but it’s the kind gleaned over years, picked up through dust-ups with drugs, the myth of Orpheus, apocalyptic scriptures, the outlaw country music of Guy Clark, and Samuel Beckett plays. But for all the heady earnestness and dense illustrations, it’s a deeply funny record, punctuated by knowing winks. “Pardon me for the hippie talk,” Sharp sings on side one closer “Slow Realization.”

Out of Range builds on the windswept mood of 2015’s Dream All Over, trading in dusty cowpunk, spooked folk, and phased country rock. Its edges are homespun and creaking—credit the presence of Henry Barnes of Man Is the Bastard and Amps for Christ on fiddle, bouzouki, and hand-crafted instruments like the “springocaster lap-slide” and “sibanjar”—but bassist Adam Payne and drummer Daniel Swire keep the grooves rooted in boogying white-line fever, evoking the highways that cut through the Southwestern expanse as much as the desert itself.

And the deserts Sharp and Keith sing about are full of mysteries. “So open up those lids / You’re gonna have to get what you got hid,” Sharp sings on the lilting “Primacy of Love.” It’s in the way the hidden reveals itself—slowly, over an “endless wait,” and only to the patient—that Gun Outfit finds its surest footing.

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