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OutRun - S.S.T. Band :: Review by Chris

OutRun - S.S.T. Band Album Title: OutRun - S.S.T. Band
Record Label: Pony Canyon
Catalog No.: PCCB-00081
Release Date: February 21, 1992
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Sega's iconic driving game OutRun was first commemorated in album form with Out Run - S.S.T. Band. The original version of the gae's score is featured on the second half of the album. It focuses on the three selectable stage themes from OutRun, "Magical Sound Shower", "Splash Wave", and "Passing Breeze". The compositions are impressive both for their infectious melodies and extensive development. The first half of the soundtrack, on the other hand, are arranged versions and performances by Sega's S.S.T. Band. They stick quite close to the original, but offer a few elaborations and stylistic twists. Note there is also a sound effects and voice collection tagged on at the end of the release.


The original "Magical Sound Shower" is a definitive classic. It blends Hiroshi Kawaguchi's samba beats, old-school melodies, and jazz improvisation into one six minute track. The result is memorable, rhythmically compelling, and suitable for driving to. Furthermore, the sound quality is very good for its time, although the remastered version on the OutRun 20th Anniversary Box is quite a bit better. Its arranged version is quite straightforward and synthy, but really emphasises the rhythmical edge and Latin influences of the original theme. It's not the best arranged version of the theme, but still likeable.

The other two driving themes haven't quite attained classic status, but are still good. "Splash Wave" is quite a bit more rock-influenced and fast-paced than "Magical Sound Shower", although at its core is one of Kawaguchi's characteristically warm and naive melodies. It'll be a fun listen for those who prefer to drive on the edge. Its S.S.T. Band arranged version is definitely one of the main highlights on the set since it exposes those old-school rock and sentimental sounds most would expect to hear from a classic arranged album. However, sometimes a little more soloing would have been welcome.

"Passing Breeze", on the other hand, is the most relaxing of the set with a light jazz feel and rather smooth soundscaping. While the melody isn't particularly striking, the various improvisations based on it are very well done. It's arranged version hearkens back to the Latin sound of "Magic Sound Shower", but offers a charismatic piano lead. The guitar soloing on this remix is probably the best of the lot too. The soundtrack ends with the only other theme in the four track OutRun score, the high score music "Last Wave". It's rather short and superfluous, but nevertheless charming with its music box focus. This one doesn't receive an arranged version.


Given it is based on just three tracks, OutRun - S.S.T. Band manages to offer a surprising amount. Each of the original racing themes has a lot to them and it's great how gamers are able to select which one they want to hear while driving depending on their mood. The arranged tracks are also well done and filled with S.S.T. Band's charming old-school sound. The only thing letting down this release is that it has been superseded by several newer albums, namely Yu-Suzuki Produce OutRun with its faithful original version and more ambitious arranged section as well as OutRun 20th Anniversary Box for die-hard collectors. That said, this album is worth checking out if you want the S.S.T. Band exclusives.

Overall Score: 7/10