Shout Out Out Out Out’s live shows, replete with four bassists (one for each Out), two drummers, and a boundless sense of energy, have earned them notice recently, especially at a time in which dance music is more identified by the cold stare of stationary laptops. But this stormy buzz has also led to poor reception of their recorded material. It’s hard to find a review of either Reintegration Time or 2006’s Not Saying, Just Saying that doesn’t comment on the comparative wanness of the band’s recorded material, as if such a translation of the spectacle of their live act were possible, or even desired. This difference also doesn’t indicate any sort of failure. Although their on-stage presence is defined by its fire, their records hit a more reserved note, striving less for frenzied bedlam than a sustained, spacey groove. There may not be a tremendous amount of punch to the album, but Reintegration Time nonetheless feels melodically colorful, suffused with an organic warmth courtesy of live instruments and old-fashioned Moog synth.
An apparent fear of monotony results in guest appearances, presumably to add a vocal edge. San Serac shows up on “One Two Plus Three,” and though the addition of voices is an interesting elaboration it doesn’t feel like a positive, or even necessary, element. A guest spot from a fellow Edmontonian, rapper Cadence Weapon, has the same problem, but works more successfully. The vocals here also fit jaggedly with the rest of the song, but the messy glue-job is matched by the strident tone of the words, which taper off into a shouted chorus that gives way to a twisting synth outro. This sudden burst of force could be interpreted as a gimmick to remind listeners of the band’s live energy, but it doesn’t feel forced—a stylistic hiccup that keeps things from remaining too comfortable. Otherwise, Reintegration Time is a neat, reserved album, if not satisfying as a close approximation of the band’s live sound, then as a more low-key exploration on a parallel path.