Alex Lebl, Contributing Writer
Release Date: Feb. 22, 2013
Similar To: Daft Punk, Justice, Danger
Big things were expected of Kavinsky after his song “Nightcall,” featured on the soundtrack of the hit movie Drive in 2011 and, thankfully, also on Outrun. It took two years for him to come out with a full-length debut, but it was certainly worth the wait.
The album, running only 44 minutes, is a joy from beginning to end. Being one of few electro-house albums with a formal concept, Outrun gives more to the listener than the typical album in this genre. The concept is based around a character who encounters a super-fly car on a stormy night. He fuses souls with it, which causes him to be invisible to everyone except for the girl that he loves.
Since most of the tracks are instrumental, the story isn’t explicitly stated throughout, but the listener can really feel what the protagonist is going through in each song, and isn’t that what concept albums are all about? The listener is there every step of his quest, whether it be his emergence as a car-man in “Blizzard” or his journey through streets in “Suburbia.”
Kavinsky’s fun style of blending elements of other genres with his house beats and synths give the album a unique feel that rivals the experience of listening to a Daft Punk album. Tracks like “Rampage” and “Deadcruiser” illustrate his ear for blending funk and electro-dance styles together in perfect harmony, whereas songs like “Suburbia” and “First Blood” have hints of hip-hop and soul running through them. This constant fusion of styles leads to a wonderfully paced and varied record.
The standout song from Outrun is clearly the lead single “Protovision.” It has everything a listener could want from this kind of song. It’s catchy; it has that edge to it and you can move to it. Other standout cuts from Outrun include my second favorite, “Testarossa Autodrive,” and, of course, “Nightcall.” This is definitely a song to put on repeat. Since the album is so short, it avoids the trap that many albums of this type fall into, which is to become too repetitive.
Outrun is an instant classic, and should be considered one of the best electronica albums in recent memory. More importantly, it establishes Kavinsky as one of the coolest cats around. The album is fantastic from start to finish, and as soon as it is over, the only thing to do to avoid withdrawal symptoms is hit play again. 8/10.