After hearing the 'Roxanne' and 'Can't Stand Losing You' singles on their initial release in 1978, I couldn't wait to hear their debut album. As it was, a friend beat me to it and when he played it to me, I wasn't as impressed as I'd expected. 'Outlandos D'Amour' is the work of a band still looking for a focus. Ultimately, it was the way they wrapped their pop music in a mix of rock and Caribbean rhythms that gave them a distinctive, winning sound. At first, they got nowhere with this stuff, but in those days songs about prostitutes and suicide didn't get much airplay. Soon after, they toured the US and broke through there, after which BBC Radio couldn't ignore them.
They were never described as a new wave band, but this album is heavily influenced by the likes of Elvis Costello. 'Next To You', 'Peanuts' and 'Truth Hits Everybody' all have that stamp. 'So Lonely' features rock and reggae rhythms alternately and was an obvious third hit single. All of the aforementioned songs, plus the straight pop of 'Born In The 50s' are fine tracks.
'Hole In My Life', however, is somewhat monotonous, while Andy Summers's novelty song, 'Sally', is really only worth one listen. Moreover, the long final track is little more than a filler jam with Sting yelling improvised words in the background. For the most part, this a very good album, but it's rather uneven.