Just how do you cope with the agonising pain and feelings of loss that occur in the aftermath of a relationship breakdown? Some people lose themselves in the numbing warmth of drugs and booze, others, in meaningless casual diversions of the flesh. However, for Cara Beth Satalino, AKA Outer Spaces, that anguish was channeled into songwriting, and the act creating a second album.
The press release for Gazing Globe (Outer Spaces’s follow-up to their 2016 debut, A Shedding Snake) candidly details Satalino’s relationship difficulties with fellow bandmate / partner Chester Gwazda, and describes a period of isolation and loneliness that she went through whilst trying to write songs for the new record. It’s heartbreakingly sad, and based on this PR blurb alone, you’d be forgiven for imagining that Gazing Globe was choc-full of variations from the “Bkoo hoo/I’ve been dumped/Poor me” school of songwriting, but you’d be wrong. Instead, Satalino has created ten songs of abstract melancholy, that leave you in no doubt that the author has loved and lost, but don’t rub your face in the piss-stained carpet of despair in the same way that a band like The Wedding Present (for example) might.
As statements of intent go, LP opener, ‘I See Her Face’, is just jaw droppingly lovely. Lilting guitars and mellow organ interplay with Satalino’s heartfelt vocals, creating an atmosphere of smiling sadness that makes the whole venture feel like you’re reading letters from an ex-lover whilst bathed In candlelight. I shit you not, it’s up there with the best of The Go-betweens, and I don’t say that fucking lightly.
Just as affecting is ‘Truck Song’, which uses vehicular breakdown as a metaphor for relationships going astray. Starting with a simple acoustic guitar riff, the track bursts into action about halfway through with lazy indie-skiffle drums, and a refrain of “Get on your feet/You’re on your own”. As life affirming as it is wistful.
Title track ‘Gazing Globe‘ is the only song on the album that I really can’t decide if I absolutely love or absolutely loath. Sounding like the result of a young REM discovering LSD and attempting to channel the spirit of The Beatles, ‘Gazing Globe‘ wibbles with woozy psychedelic stings and “Oooo ooo ooos” a-plenty, and is without doubt the most instantly brain-wormy song on the LP. My only concern is that perhaps it’s too catchy, and may in-time actually make me want to smash my fucking speakers in with a big hammer. Only time will tell… For now though, I like it a lot!
One song that I don’t think I could ever get annoyed by is the acronym overload that is ‘YWLGOML‘ (You Won’t Let Go Of My Line). With some serious hip shuffling bass, ‘YWLGOML’ is a frenetic slice of indie-pop goodness, and is perhaps the most up-beat song on Gazing Globe. As equally brilliant is ‘I Slowly Close My Eyes’. With its twangy guitars and organ undertones, it starts off as a mellow as a drugged sloth, but by the end is transformed into a blitz of drums and multi-tracked vocals that sound like a snippet from a 1980s 4AD compilation.
Perhaps the best songs on Gazing Globe is ‘Telling You Things‘. With lyrics that convey the pain of wanting to converse with an old flame, even when they’ve long departed your life, Satalino taps into one of life’s universal truths – loss never leaves you completely. On a sunnier note though, ‘Telling You Things’ is musically the complete opposite of misery and pain. It skips and scampers along like a lost Lemonheads Shame About Ray track, and acts as a hefty melodic counterpoint to Satalino’s words of woe.
Over the course of ten tracks, Cara Beth Satalino and the rest of her Outer Spaces comrades have created something really special. Whilst Gazing Globe is essentially an esoteric meditation on the meaning of heartbreak and loneliness, there’s optimism for the future here too. It also doesn’t hurt that Gazing Globe comes equipped with tunes that will melt your ears clean off.
As the album closer ‘Teapot #2‘ winds down, Satalino belts out “I’ve just got one thing to say/I wanna love myself and I wanna love you”. It seems that finaly the night is over. Dawn is breaking. Hope abounds.
Gazing Globe is released on 28/06/19 on Western Vinyl