Album Review: Kavinsky ‘Outrun’; Kavinsky crafts a synth-driven soundtrack to the coolest 80’s movie that doesn’t exist (except in his head).
French electronic artist Kavinsky’s previous claim to fame was ‘Nightcall’, the haunting synth-pop track which was featured on the ‘Drive’ Soundtrack (which made our list of Best Movie Soundtracks Of All Time).
That soundtrack perfectly captured the sound of 1980’s genre cinema. The pulsating synths conjures images of neon reflecting on rain-soaked streets (even if you’d never seen Nicolas Winding Refn’s neo-noir film).
‘Outrun’ is a concept album with a storyline that’s a mash-up of “Drive” and “John Carpenter’s Christine“; a young man gets run over by a Ferrari. He then becomes a zombie that fuses with the car as he searches for a lost love.
Yes, it’s pretty goddamn goofy, but don’t let that scare you off, because ‘Outrun‘ is great fun.
“Protovision” references both Journey’s “Separate Ways” as well as the scores to Giorgio Moroder’s “American Gigolo” and Tangerine Dream’s ‘Thief” (Kavinsky’s album cover even references the Michael Mann film).
It’s crazy catchy and will have you speeding down the highway with speakers blaring. Clearly his intent given his auto erotic fixation (pun intended).
And if you told someone ‘Grand Canyon‘ was vintage Kraftwerk they’d be hard pressed not to believe you.
Kavinsky’s 80’s soundtrack pastiche is so convincing that it’s jarring when he branches out: “Suburbia” is a weak hip-hop track featuring Havoc from Mobb Deep. Rapping about Facebook and Twitter is pretty uninspired and breaks the 80’s spell.
“First Blood” fares better with an androgynous soul vocal from Tyson that sounds like a funkier version of the “Knight Rider” Theme.
His Daft Punk collaboration “Night Call” is included in the mix, and it makes you wish that co-vocalist Lovefoxx sang on more tracks.
“Roadgame” is perhaps the biggest departure of the album; its string-synth symphony touches on the trip-hop of Massive Attack. Perhaps Kavinksy can do a 90’s style album next time around?
‘Outrun’s‘ greatest appeal is also its liability. It succeeds when it stays within ‘Drive‘ territory, but sounds unsure of itself when it shifts gears. But it’ll certainly make road trips and traffic jams more tolerable if you have it cranked up in your car stereo.
You can preview/download Kavinsky’s ‘Outrun’ via iTunes below:
And here’s an interview with Kavinsky in Spin Magazine.