Stay Outside, a local band consisting of vocalist Aaron Becker, guitarist Garrett Johnston, bassist Sean West, and drummer Noah Mitchener, released a remixed EP called O,FN II. The EP takes the songs “Braveheart,” “Void,” and “Wanderer” from their previous EP, Okay, For Now and revamps them in a softer, more mellow tone while adding an appropriate “II” to the end of each title. It’s important to know going forward that this is a remix, this isn’t what the band normally sounds like. While these new songs aren’t a stretch for the band, it isn’t what you’d usually hear from them.

Image from Facebook. (left to right) Sean West, Aaron Becker, Noah Mitchener, Garrett Johnston

From an outsider’s perspective

Most people reading this probably haven’t heard of Stay Outside. And I’m not trying to make it sound like some underground, hipster music, but I am trying to get across that they’re no Metallica or AC/DC or some other big-name band. So how does this EP hold up with someone who hasn’t heard Stay Outside before?  Pretty well actually, if you haven’t heard their other songs. The EP has a laid back, almost hip-hop feel. You can slow dance to these songs at prom. You won’t find the indie rock Stay Outside usually plays here. The band has had some slower songs, like “Lt. Dan” for example, but this EP really amps up the mellow vibe. It’s honestly a nice change of pace and refreshing to hear some older songs brought back in a new light. If you’re like me and you like listening to music while doing homework or chores or whatever, this EP is perfect for that. But what about people who’ve been following the band for years?

From a longtime fan’s perspective

If you’ve been following this band like I have since their days as Midwest Ambition (what they used to be called), or even just before this new EP came out, then you might be slightly disappointed with the direction O,FN II went in. Earlier I said it held up well if you haven’t heard their other stuff, but if you are familiar with their previous works, then this EP will leave you wanting more. “Void II” for example was the best song on O,FN II and probably the best on Okay, For Now as well. But every time I listened to “Void II” I kept wanting to stop the song and go listen to the original “Void” because it’s so much better than its remixed counterpart. That isn’t to say “Void II” is bad, because it isn’t. The lyrics to these three songs aren’t different from the originals, nothing seems to be added lyric wise, they’re just mixed in a different way. However, the instrumentals are completely different, and are really only related to their Okay, For Now counterparts by name. The EP does succeed as a remix. It just doesn’t live up to the sound I’m used to hearing from Stay Outside. I kept waiting for Aaron to scream or hear some sick guitar work from Garrett but there wasn’t really any of that. That’s why it’s important to remember that this is only a remix EP. It’s not supposed to be the band’s next big thing. It’s just a fun way for Stay Outside to be creative with some old material and explore some new sounds.

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