Outside the Box

Studio Album by released in 2010
Outside the Box's tracklist:
Perforated
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8 Bit Baby (feat. MURS)
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CPU
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Where You Should Be (feat. Sam Frank)
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How Real (feat. Freckles)
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Fields of Emotion
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I Love the Way
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Listenin' to the Records on My Wall
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Wibbler
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Metamorphosis
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Finally (feat. La Roux)
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Reflections (feat. dBridge & instra:mental)
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A Song for Lenny
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The Epic Last Song
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Outside the Box review

A man called Skream

Did you know that you don’t have to think hard to make up yourself a memorable pseudonym. London-born Oliver Jones changed only one letter in the word Scream to get himself a nice-looking and laconic alias Skream. It is very likely that all over the world, there are several dozens, if not hundreds, of Skreams, but in the world of dance music, this is Oliver Jones whose Skream name is the most reputed. London is not only the place where he was born, but also the place of origin of many kinds of music, including the so-called dubstep. This is a dance music subgenre that is based on distinct and massive bass lines, looped drums and rare vocal parts lacking any structure. Skream made a great contribution to dubstep and rose to fame himself as soon as he released in 2006 his eponymous debut long player. He was only twenty years old at that time, yet music lovers and music critics agreed that this young man was very skilful in controlling the listener’s mood and making everybody dance with the help of chaning rhythms and meters. Four years later, the talented Englishman dropped one more studio album, Outside The Box.

Skream music needs more voices

Apparently, this is how Oliver Jones decided to redeem himself for leaving the audience without his new studio works for as long as four years. There is no other way you can explain why this young man stuffed his second long player with anything he possibly could. The basic version of Outside The Box features fourteen songs with a duration of about an hour, while the Deluxe Edition provides you with twenty tracks lasting up to almost a hundred minutes. There is no difficulty guessing that the presented material lacks cohesion or stylistic uniformity. Yet even in this mess, you can disclose some patterns and differences the album has compared to the predecessor. The first half of the new CD mostly features tracks with vocals. This why the tracks similar to what Skream offered four years ago are gathered in the album’s closing sector. We are talking now, for instance, about Reflections, or Wibbler. When the musician makes an effort to put an accent on singing and at the same time to turn the bass a little bit down and put it to the back, you feel the need for more order among the vocal lines. You want to hear choruses, verses and bridges, and you don’t get them. However, How Real is a pleasant exception where all interesting ideas are materialized. The track featuring La Roux is quite intriguing thank to a somewhat dreary atmosphere. The same mood fills I Love The Way with a house-styled vocal line.

Skream is looking for the future sounding

So, you don’t relay know what to think of Outside The Box after you listen to it for the first time. The first thing to cross your mind is that Skream simply recorded twenty tracks and did not want to, did not decide to or could not choose the best. However, you can make some specific conclusions. Cooperation with a few guest singers and reducing the number of purely instrumental songs points clearly to the movement towards mainstream. The pop-music influence is easily perceived in the enhanced arrangements and more radio-friendly song structures. For an hour and a half that you spend with this CD, you will look over all subtypes of dance music and learn how different human voices can be after programming. It is a frequent case when a remarkable debut is followed by a contradictory effort because the performer puts a question what to do in the future. The same question is addressed to the listeners because they have the chance to hear and know what the musician is capable of. Skream has many tools in his arsenal. He just needs to know better how to use them.