Ash Briody, the mind and primary songwriter behind Melbourne psych-pop act The Beegles, describes his latest LP as "an introspective look at hiding indoors, while wanting to be out with the sun." It's an apt characterization, in that it captures the album's inherent tension: for every moment that feels like your typical, summery psychedelia, there's a contrasting glimpse of discordant anxiety and doubt that casts it in a different light. Everybody Outside is as unpredictable as it is complex, and it's fairly demanding as a result.
That said, though, it's an incredibly fun record. It wasn't until the fourth track, "San Fran," that I realized it, but The Beegles have an earnest playfulness that allows their intricacies to be likable rather than excessively challenging or distracting. Maybe it's just because I'm a sucker for any band that writes a song about my city (even if they fuck up the abbreviation), but when that funky bassline and irresistible woodwind section kicked in, I was hooked.
"She's So Tired," on the other hand, is exemplary of Everybody Outside's more melancholy side. It features an understated horn section that enters and exits at will (muted trumpet at the forefront, giving it a jazzy vibe), alternately in harmony and at odds with the rest of the instrumentation. At a few points, the song all but grinds to a halt, seemingly exhausted and struggling to continue. Each time, though, it picks itself back up and soldiers on with determined grace.
There are a number of gradations between the two extremes, like the folky acoustics of "The Dream Team," and the off-kilter synth-psych of "Wrecking Dreams." But underpinning all of these songs is a reverence for that natural beauty that Briody mentions in his liner notes. Whether it's approached with optimism or trepidation, there's an element of longing and awe that ties everything together.
Everybody Outside takes what might otherwise be a predictable seasonal theme and gives it a refreshing dose of nuance, making it an excellent record for those looking to stock up for summer. Just make sure that, at least once, you listen to it the way The Beegles intended: sitting inside, staring out the window at a bunch of other people having fun.