‘A Shedding Snake’ by Outer Spaces (Album)

Outer Spaces ‘A Shedding Snake’ album cover
Outer Spaces. Pic: Micah E. Wood

Baltimore’s Outer Spaces: without the restrictions of a tight skin. Pic: Micah E. Wood

The Baltimore trio’s melodic debut album of loose college rock is solid proof that the past is far behind them

Outer Spaces 'A Shedding Snake' album coverThe skin of a snake doesn’t grow, it stretches to breaking point and is left behind as well as any parasites which have attached themselves along the way. The debut album from Baltimore’s Outer Spaces soundtracks their very own process of ecdysis and provides them with a chance to wipe the slate clean.

Without the restrictions of a tight skin the music is slack and loose – think a less esoteric Waxahatchee – and there is space for Cara Beth Satalino and company to settle into their own groove of lush melodies. It’s not just the outer layer that’s been shed; on Words, Satalino sings “I took my insides out / left them all around the house.” More than anything, though, this is an opportunity to move forward, as acknowledged on I Was Divided where “the future is brighter than stars in the sky.” This theme continues right the way through to the final track, What Is Real, which finds Satalino “on the road to the open sky / the past is a twinkle in my third eye.”

If there’s one criticism it’s that some of the songs are too similar, all operating within the framework of college rock. Thankfully, the added dose of distortion on Born Enemy and the spectral nature of The Page Has Turned helps to break things up, just enough. Strangely for a debut album, A Shedding Snake is the sound of a band being reborn, accepting what has gone before and looking to the future.

Verdict: A band with the freedom to play it loose

Duncan Haskell

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