32. Impossible Outcomes – The Get Up Kids

It was only a matter of time before we heard from The Get Up Kids again.

Covers of 'Eudora' by The Get Up Kids, and 'Encapsulated' by Metroschifter

Except, on this occasion, this is not strictly one of theirs. (The) Metroschifter is essentially one man, Scott Ritcher, writing the songs and surrounding himself with an ever-changing line-up of journeymen and session musicians in order to get them recorded.

As a result, the Metroschifter back catalogue is either gloriously eclectic or awkwardly inconsistent, depending on whether your glass is half full. The charts remain resolutely untroubled.

For the Encapsulated project, Scott took a somewhat different approach, recording a couple of dozen demo tapes of new songs, and mailing them to his favourite bands to see what they could do with the material. Some of the artists even responded, including The Promise Ring, The Enkindels, Ink & Dagger and—this is why we’re here, readers—The Get Up Kids.

The song is Impossible Outcomes. It’s kind of tailor-made for the Kids, covering familiar thematic territory for them: wistful, nostalgic, and presumably unrequited teenage love in an autumnal, vaguely academic setting:

Late one fall afternoon, after school
In the cool suburban breeze of Louisville

Matt Pryor’s voice seems very much at home here:

The moon…finds her in the mood
In her eyes I can see it all
Short plaid skirt
White short, short sleeved shirt

I can picture it myself, to be fair. We’re already falling for the girl whilst wondering if that’s entirely appropriate. It’s all in vain anyway, since she’s not particularly interested in us:

My dreams aren’t premonitions
Because I’m dreaming of impossible outcomes

There isn’t any tangible redemption here either way:

I’ve tried to understand
But I don’t understand

You and me both, Kids. You and me both.

It’s a cracking musical romp from start to finish. If it wasn’t deliberately written for TGUK, then it may as well have been.

Another photo of the two albums

Recorded in 1998, there’s a noticeable musical evolution from 1997’s raw, shoestring-budget Four Minute Mile. The track may consititute one of the first recorded appearances with TGUK of keyboardist and future Get Up Kid James Dewees, he of Reggie & the Full Effect infamy.

The ‘boards are front and centre too: a keening, contrapuntal synth melody sears over Rob Pope’s driving, almost disco bass line, before it all breaks down for the refrain, Pryor and Jim Suptic going toe-to-toe both vocally and on guitar, and making a thoroughly joyous yet bittersweet racket in the process.

Impossible Outcomes resurfaced with the 2001 release of TGUK’s Eudora, an ostensibly loose collection of covers, B-sides and other rarities, which nonetheless holds together as a surprisingly coherent album in its own right.

Sadly, both Encapsulated and Eudora are all but impossible to come by these days, even in the States. In a pleasing turn of events, however, both are available on at least one streaming service.

Which brings us to the playlist. Obviously, Impossible Outcomes is on there, but I’ve also added Scott Ritcher’s own demo version. I assume this is exactly as The Get Up Kids would have first heard the track, and it’s fascinating to hear how it evolved in their hands.

Ink & Dagger’s terrifying interpretation of Actress is a joy to behold. From Eudora, we have TGUK doing a surprisingly convincing rendition of Mötley Crüe’s On With The Show. Koufax is Rob & Ryan Pope’s other band, and there’s a whole bunch of other tangentially related stuff in there too. Enjoy.

Artist: The Get Up Kids
Album: Metroschifter Encapsulated, 2000; re-released on Eudora, 2001
Writer: Scott Ritcher
Producer: Ed Rose with The Get Up Kids
Released: 2000; Doghouse Records

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