Billy MacKenzie – Outernational
CD, Album, UK & Europe, 1992
I remember reading about this album when it was released in Europe but I had a hell of a time trying to locate a copy. Eventually I found a single copy at Tower Records Piccadilly London branch around 1994. And it was expensive! Nevertheless worth every pence.
The only Billy MacKenzie album released under his name when he was alive. Not sure why this is not under the Associates banner, but nevertheless all albums without Alan Rankine, is in its nature, a solo album. The first cut “Outernational” is a classic in the same landscape as Kraftwerk's “Trans-Europe Express.” Electro-pop at its best. An excellent opening to a world of electro-disco, and in many ways a total underrated masterpiece.
Often Outernational sounds like it wasn't made by humans, because it is very much a producer's album, being that Yello's Boris Blank and the totally European sounding Thomas Fehlmann and Moritz Von Oswald. MacKenzie's voice blends into the mix like adding cream to coffee. It is effortless that it seems to be an ideal of what pop should sound like. Dance floor friendly to the max, if this album was a color it would be pastel colors with flowing fabric on a window backed by a wind machine.
The Boris Blank cuts are more flavored in the sense it is very textural and Billy's voice and music is in the hands of a wonderful chemist. The stunning great song here (besides the title cut) is “In Windows All.” That alone is worth the expense of getting this album. A Billy slow burner.