Before the release of their debut album, Hey Violet hinted that they were moving in a more pop direction: tours with 5 Seconds of Summer and the sheen of their Brand New Moves EP made it clear that this band was very different than Cherri Bomb, the hard rock outfit that Rena and Nia Lovelis and Miranda Miller played in before. From the Outside, however, dives farther into pop's mainstream than any of Hey Violet's previous releases. The provocative former single "Guys My Age" sets the tone for much of the album, with cooing vocals and trap-tinged beats that sound like a collaboration between Demi Lovato and the Weeknd. Meanwhile, "My Consequence" evokes Daya, and it's more than a little ironic that "O.D.D.," a moody song about being a misfit, sounds like it could top the charts. To be fair, Hey Violet also make room for some unexpected sounds, like the smooth synth pop of "Where Have You Been (All My Night)" and the witchy ballad "Like Lovers Do." One thing that hasn't changed since the Cherri Bomb days is the band's skill at crafting naggingly catchy songs. "Break My Heart" takes its cues from late-2010s trends like tropical pop and EDM, but the hooks are all Hey Violet. Likewise, they bring some rock grit to "Brand New Moves"' shimmying beat, and Rena Lovelis sounds more confident as a frontwoman than ever. Not surprisingly given the band's roots, From the Outside's rock songs are some of the brightest highlights: over pumped-up riffs, the band skewers sketchy guys on "Fuqboi" with lyrics that are alternately hilarious ("Did I mention he wears his mom's earrings?") and scathing ("I'd rather cut out my tongue than let you kiss me with yours"). Later, they deliver their final kiss-off with "This Is Me Breaking Up with You." While Hey Violet sometimes seem to have more personality than their material on From the Outside, they handle the album's many stylistic shifts without giving listeners too much sonic whiplash.
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