- One of the best copies to hit the site in quite a while – Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
- Few audiophiles (I’m guessing) know how well recorded this album is – you need just the right UK pressing to show you what’s really on the tape
- Roxanne, So Lonely, Can’t Stand Losing You all sound amazing on these Shootout Winning (or close to them) sides
- 4 1/2 stars: “Although Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland were all superb instrumentalists with jazz backgrounds, it was much easier to get a record contract in late-’70s England if you were a punk/new wave artist, so the band decided to mask their instrumental prowess with a set of strong, adrenaline-charged rock, albeit with a reggae tinge. ”
What’s amazing about this copy? There are SWEET HIGHS and AMBIENCE that we didn’t think were possible – and it ROCKS! Whatever it’s doing, it sure doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it.
Not only does the high end exist, but it sounds sweet and doesn’t rip your ears out of your earsockets (trust me, I’m a doctor). This is vitally important in songs like “Roxanne” where Andy Summers’ reggae influenced guitar can sound squawky and brittle if there is too much compression.
Sting’s vocals are detailed, present, and you can really hear his background vocals separate themselves away from the lead, obvious on this copy in a denser track like “So Lonely”.
There’s a ton of punchy bass which actually equates to a ton of life and energy on this album. If Stewart Copeland’s kick drum isn’t punching you in the chest, then you’re missing out on some of the fun. We even heard ambience around the cymbals, and that is information most copies of the album simply cannot resolve.
This is clearly one of the BEST copies of Outlandos d’Amour we have ever heard.
Reggae Rockin’ the Free World
What the best sides of this British New Wave, Punk, Reggae-Rock Mixed-Up Album have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the vocals, guitars (with guitar effects!) and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For on Outlandos d’Amour
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Next to You
Hole in My Life
Can’t Stand Losing You
Truth Hits Everybody
Born in the 50’s
Be My Girl
While their subsequent chart-topping albums would contain far more ambitious songwriting and musicianship, the Police’s 1978 debut, Outlandos d’Amour (translation: Outlaws of Love) is by far their most direct and straightforward release.
Although Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland were all superb instrumentalists with jazz backgrounds, it was much easier to get a record contract in late-’70s England if you were a punk/new wave artist, so the band decided to mask their instrumental prowess with a set of strong, adrenaline-charged rock, albeit with a reggae tinge.
Some of it may have been simplistic (‘Be My Girl-Sally,’ ‘Born in the ’50s’), but Sting was already an ace songwriter, as evidenced by all-time classics like the good-girl-gone-bad tale of ‘Roxanne,’ and a pair of brokenhearted reggae-rock ditties, ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’ and ‘So Lonely.’
But like all other Police albums, the lesser-known album cuts are often highlights themselves — the frenzied rockers ‘Next to You,’ ‘Peanuts,’ and ‘Truth Hits Everybody,’ as well as more exotic fare like the groovy album closer ‘Masoko Tanga’ and the lonesome ‘Hole in My Life.’
Outlandos d’Amour is unquestionably one of the finest debuts to come out of the ’70s punk/new wave movement.