*In process of stocking* Despite its eventual obscurity, Out was clearly intended to be a big, mainstream album. Moore recorded it with a large ensemble of seasoned session musicians, including Andy Summers, later of the Police and Kevin Ayers from the Soft Machine. It was produced by Peter Jenner, a legendary impresario who managed and produced artists including Pink Floyd, Roy Harper and Tyrannosaurus Rex. The songs are not especially difficult, but they are beautifully, elaborately arranged. These sounds have a grounding in folk—a lot of them sound a good bit like Roy Harper’s solo work—but they open out in urbane, expansive ways with piano, string sections and some way-out guitar playing from Andy Summers.
“A Thousand Ships” is an early highlight with wailing, whammied guitar cries over the whirl of waltz-time piano, and Moore singing wistfully, intimately, easily, hedged in by a density of vocals. Summers gets off some very wild, Frampton Comes Alive flourishes in this song, and it finishes in surging choral refrains, but it never feels overblown. “Please Go” is a little more complicated. It has string arrangements credit to the British classical composer (and frequent Mike Oldfield collaborator, remember “Tubular Bells”?) David Bedford, and he doesn’t exactly hold back. The glissandos glisten, the piano rambles in intricate ways and the song takes unexpected melodic and rhythmic turns. It is, by far, the song most in line with Slapp Happy’s orchestral complexity, but even this one rollicks a bit, more Left Banke than Scott Walker.
Moore was still separating himself from Slapp Happy when these songs were recorded, and “Johnny’s Dead,” another grand, sweeping orchestral ballad with big strings, was released as a Slapp Happy Single, in exactly the same arrangement. It’s a bit more precious than the rest of the songs, but not in a grating way. Peter Blegvad shares a writing credit, and Amanda Parsons from the Northettes adds a plaintive vocal.
The prettiest, purest cut of the lot, however, is “Catch a Falling Star,” a song that has the fey charm of a Syd Barrett off cut, tempered by a certain mannered elegance. It’s about as densely arranged as any of these songs, but the strings and rounding vocals sit lightly on its fragile melody. It sounds as delicate as a soap bubble, though perhaps one of the complex ones that have been split into a geometry of sub-bubbles. It’s all totally enjoyable, a bit 1970s dated, but with the clear lines and clean structure that make music timeless. Out is finally out, and that’s something to celebrate.' - Jennifer Kelly