Out of Sight...

The Italian group have cooked up another potentially tasty dish of ska-punk with a side serving of reggae. Out of Mind return with their second album "Que Te Pasa?" to follow on from their 2008 debut "Novantanovepercento" and appear to have serious intentions (at least, I believe that's what their poorly translated biography primarily attempts to put across). The sextet's songs often touch upon issues of significant severity, such as political corruption and contemporary society... or at least, that is what we are told. If English is your sole language, lyrical craft will not be an element of focus for you here.

At six members in strength, there are expectations for Out of Mind to deliver a substantially detailed sound. However, it is generally very 'hit and miss'. Group members Luigi (saxophone) and Edoardo (trumpet) hold the potential to enliven the ten album tracks, yet are never allowed to wander and explore. Instead they have been clearly been told to stay close to the parental guitar parts and do as they do. Tracks such as 'Che Numero Sei' and 'No Te Quiero Mas' glow with fair punk potential, but the former remains an uninspiring procession of chugging power chords and the later is a solid song with a catchy six note melodic statement, but ultimately feels as though it hides untapped promise.

Lively track 'Pequeno Punk' has more spring in it than a bouncy castle and shows just why Out of Mind could one day become a well regarded Italian ska punk act. Followed by the trills and thrills of 'Panico', the album finally seems to find its niche, restoring any waning faith. The diversity of one minute having pounding distorted guitar chords only for them to transform into clean, animated offbeat rhythms is a distinguished strength and prevents the music on offer from going stale.

The opening to 'Per Sempre' has a cringeworthy amateurish feel to it, with a dated synthesised / strings pad doing little other than making you want to skip the track. As it intensifies (and thankfully ditches the dire keyboard part), it transforms into a pleasing punk rock effort despite being complemented with a strangely harmonised guitar lead.

Closing track 'The Big Rasta Man' offers a familiar tune for anyone with a vague familiarity with sixties ska music. The finale is lightly decorated with some quirky harmonic interjections that could have been exploited much more to attain a greater degree of individuality, but instead the focus remains on the poorly tuned vocal lines. The punkier half of this song does however work exceptionally well and certainly distracts from any attention drawn by the shortcomings of the opening stages of the song.

Hidden away at the end of the album after two minutes of silence lies a bizarre electronic eruption that sounds like a robot raping a synthesiser. One can only presume that this is cutting edge material in the underground European scene. If this is the case, I for one shall be remaining above ground if I ever venture to Italy or Spain to sample the local music.

In general, there is something quite loveable about Out of Mind, with their jiving ska beats interweaving with punk and reggae styles naturally. However, whilst there are certain elements that work well for the Italian six piece, there are just too many aspects that are going to stunt the growth of the band. The horn parts, for example, unfortunately fail to illustrate their value to the group, stranding the ska punkers in a land of mediocrity. Trustworthy Google informs us that "Que Te Pasa?" roughly translates into English as 'What's Up?' and as there is enough contained within Out of Mind's album to warrant a listen, why not introduce yourself with a friendly 'What's Up' of your own?