On their sophomore album, Portland-based Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside cull the best bits from music’s past eras, creating a mercurial hybrid of rockabilly, blues, country, and garage rock. Ford’s vocals have just enough of a worn edge to sound appropriately world-weary and jaded, but she’s smooth enough in her delivery to pull off sweeter, poppier tracks. Catchy “They Told Me” brings to mind the tight hooks of fellow retro rockers the Black Keys, while Ford’s vocal style on “Do Me Right” owes a little to girl-group legends the Shangri-Las. Ford and her cohorts are masters of creative metaphors: on the deceitfully cheery “Addicted,” she aptly compares leaving a problematic paramour to quitting smoking, and later uses food to explain what she likes in the bedroom. Untamed Beast offers up an eclectic mix of styles, juxtaposing rough, cathartic jams with sugary, hook-filled earworms perfect for head-bopping.
By Adrienne Urbanski