Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else / Spencer Radcliffe

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

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AllMusic Review by

Enjoy the Great Outdoors is the second LP by Spencer Radcliffe, at least under his own name. Also known as instrumental act Blithe Field, the Ohioan trades in a particularly impulsive, rugged version of guitar-based lo-fi descended from Pavement. A collaborative effort that involved members of his touring band, which expanded after his debut, the album is credited to Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else. Despite having a seven-piece at his disposal, the sound remains low-key, becoming more ramshackle at times without seeming to increase the volume. Individual parts are always decipherable, and include sauntering electric guitars, twinkling keyboards, drums, languid bass, and a miscellany that interject with noise, effects, and transient texture. Given the tools at hand, which also include cello and Rhodes piano, the album is also remarkably conversational in tone. After an intro consisting of a simple drum pattern and hazy electronic tremolo, "Trust," for instance, presents a songwriter lost in thought with pitch bending via slide guitar and other instruments that amble along as if wearing practical shoes. Meanwhile, Radcliffe ruminates about whom he can rely on: "I could call you up, confide in your trust/But I don't think you really want to know that much." Most of the album takes on a similarly reflective, vaguely trippy character, including songs with names like "Breezy" and "Land & Sea." Elsewhere, the frayed avant-lo-fi track "Slamming on the Brakes" reenacts a traffic scene with acoustic instruments and spacy effects, unfolding as if in an altered state of time. The record's closest thing to straightforward indie rock is closer "Static Electricity," an album highlight that doesn't betray the rest of the set's quality of meandering stream of consciousness. Idiosyncratic but approachable, it's a record well-suited for long drives, contemplative weekends, and canceled plans.

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