Crazy, zany and brainy are three words that could be used to describe a record of such extraordinary artistic expression, albeit one that lacks the commercial appeal of bland pop music. It was as sarcastic as it was fantastic, and therein lies the beauty. Outdoor Elvis is a record chucked full of quirks and quarks, with songs about Billy Graham, yodelling, beer, the face of St. Paul in a butt roast, and preachers who ask for moneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoney. Yup, it’s crazy fun times.
Outdoor Elvis was the second record by The Swirling Eddies, a kind of Christian supergroup spearheaded by Terry Scott Taylor of Daniel Amos fame. The sophomore release weighed in at 17 tracks, a massive mound of material that takes a while to wade through. Not everything is Grade A, but there’s enough good stuff for Outdoor Elvis to warrant a spot in every Christian music connoisseur’s record collection (hey, and even some pagans might like it :D). The band also scored a (gasp!) number hit with Driving in England, which is indeed a great song. It’s good, but Hide the Beer, The Pastor’s Here, Attack of the Pulpit Masters and Rubber Sky are even better. There’s a whole lot of variety too, with some country (Yer Little Gawd) and experimental surf rock (Don’t Hate Yourself).
Musically, The Swirling Eddies remind me of the Travelling Wilburys, the Beach Boys and the Psychedelic Furs all rolled into one. For sure, the music is tight thanks to the quality of the musicians. But the real heart of Outdoor Elvis is its lyrical wit when, surrounded by memorable melodies, makes for an sensational listening experience.