On the first few listens of Coyote’s new album Outsides, one's easily lulled nostalgically into the psychedelia of yesteryear. The mellifluous organ sounds, unequally tempered piano riffs, tremulating voice and crunchy guitars seem to be a slice out of the H.P. Lovecraft pie (the band, not the writer). While H.P Lovecraft has those juicy four-part harmony barbershop-quartet-chords, Coyote bogs down, fettered by an oversimplified song structure and monochromatic orchestration.
In “White Fox” one can easily discern the palette from which Coyote consistently draws its spectrum of sound. It's a simple instrumental accompaniment, consisting of piano, organ and guitar, with a voice that wanes into lo-fi oblivion. Despite the interesting imitation of the guitar tremolos on piano, it becomes obvious, after a few complete listens, that what one hears in the first track is the bulk of the album. This is not always a bad thing; a homogeneous sound can be a band’s best friend or its worst enemy. This enemy finds no formidable opponent on Outsides.
There are dynamically satisfying moments in the album, like the latter half of “Tea Kettle”, where scalar accompaniment and densely-worded vocals fill in the first half's intervals. It's a subtle change in texture and it offers hope of a clever album, though Coyote shoots much of their wad in the first few tracks.
There are honorable mentions: the raw vocals in “Old School Gratitude” that relentlessly try to blast above the din of guitar and organ. Also, the organ attempts to be more expressive through a repetitive melodic line in “No Young Man”. These moments are flashes in a pan when compared to the frequency of the monochromatic texture that pervades most of the album.