The outdoors is a magical place. Fresh air and open spaces. Wild animals and vibrant colours. More than just a wondrous escape, it’s also a wondrous sound. The solo project of Totally Mild guitarist Zacary Schneider (a band that reached #38 in Happy’s Top Songs of the Year), Great Outdoors retain a sound that will leave your as soul as recharged as an early morning swim, but their debut video for I Look Back will leave you absolutely dumbfounded.
If life is feeling a little mundane, you need some Great Outdoors in your life. Totally Mild’s Zacary Schneider has struck out on his own, and things are already getting weird.
I Look Back is the first cut taken from their debut album, due out through Popfrenzy in early 2016. Although in its inception stage, Great Outdoors feels fully formed. The track doesn’t have the careless vitality of a young band, it’s unhurried and confident, allowing Schneider’s hushed vocals to meander through a tale at his own pace.
There’s something reminiscent of Jay Watson in his hushed diction, and something akin to Neil Young in the vivid storytelling. The track meditates on looking backwards; using his tambourine, guitar strings and tender vocals, Schneider builds an image of a pub, a girl, a car and a kiss on the forehead. It feels a little disconnected from reality, like a distant memory or a half forgotten dream – something that is represented wonderfully in the track’s accompanying video.
Featuring some pretty brilliant 90s-inspired animation, the video is just plain fucking weird. So weird in fact that it’s near impossible to look away. At first glance it appears as a random patchwork of strange animations – many of which look like they were pulled straight from a Year 9 science textbook: diagrams dictating how pressure systems work, futuristic landscapes, plates of black sludge, a turtle with small elephants on its back and what appears to be Hell. I could go on listing, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t believe me anyway. You just need to watch it.
For some reason I can’t explain it’s the perfect video for I Look Back. The mystifying barrage of images works in perfect disharmony with the track, one is coherent and relaxed, the other completely random. If the song were any more dynamic, it would almost be too much. If the video were any more….normal, it could risk falling into the mundane.
You can be cleaning or you can be daydreaming – it doesn’t really matter. Great Outdoors will make you look back. What you look back on? That’s up to you.