The Outfield

Any Time Now

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Any Time Now, the Outfield's sixth album, arrives fourteen years after their last proper album (1992's Rockeye), but if it were judged at a mere sonic level, it would be hard for anybody but the most dedicated fan to peg this as a 2006 release. The Outfield remain dedicated to the big, slick productions -- equal parts AOR arena rock and Police -- that were in fashion from 1987-1992, which means that Any Time Now is not only a revival of their classic sound, but that apart from a lyric or two about the state of the world today, it's virtually indistinguishable from their albums from that time. The songs are anthemic, whether they're driving pop tunes or driving power ballads, and they're actually hookier and sturdier than many of the band's singles after "Your Love," sounding a bit like prime Utopia. That will be a surprise to those who didn't listen to the Outfield beyond 1985's Play Deep, but what will surprise the curious and the dedicated alike is that Any Time Now is arguably the band's best, most consistent album since that debut. True, it's not likely to woo the unconverted, but fans who have stuck with the band during this long decade-and-a-half dry spell will find that their wait has been worth it, and pop/rock fanatics with a taste for slick sounds might find themselves pleasantly surprised by this solid comeback.

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