Music / Premieres
Outer South - We Must Be Dreaming
Words by Sofia Jayne
Thursday 9th September, 2021
A coalescence of evocative instrumentation, simmering hooks and humble indie-folk charm, Outer South’s debut album We Must Be Dreaming is a soothing remedy to a nostalgic state of mind. Today we have the pleasure of premiering the new album today ahead of its official release tomorrow.
Made up of songs collected in the bedroom of songwriter Shannon Carpenter over the past few years, Outer South’s debut album feels poignant and timeless; the elegant melancholia of the album reflecting Shannon’s relationship with music. Despite considering himself a generally happy person, his music often reflects the harder parts of life and the act of writing is a therapeutic process to him, this sense of vulnerability and catharsis shining boldly across We Must Be Dreaming.

From bedroom to backyard, the songs found their way to being shared amongst friends. Shannon had been in between bands for a while and these songs had existed solely in the home space, but in his backyard in Footscray, he began to teach them to band members Matt and Cal, who he’d played with in a previous band. As the album began to take shape, it made its way to production, recorded with Tom Robinson at his family-owned studio Homestead Studios in Mount Helen. Tom’s influence is noticeable across We Must Be Dreaming, bringing the album to life with his warm production and shimmering atmospherics, and naturally he ended up becoming the next member of Outer South. After its completion, Tom introduced the band to Lauren, who is for now the final piece to the puzzle. Although she does not feature on this album, we can expect to see her in Outer South’s future live gigs and recordings.

We Must Be Dreaming starts off with Outer South’s previously released single ‘By The Morning’, opening with a unison of soft vocals and steady guitar strumming. As a light drumming enters and the vocals expand to surge with emotion, a deeply melancholic scene of mental reflection is depicted. Throughout the album, Outer South continues to paint relatable scenes like these that echo a sadness familiar to the human experience.

‘Half Way’ leads on with tranquillity, dipped in hues of blue - a tangle of delicate guitars and lilting grooves, while Shannon’s husky vocals project lyrics of personal struggle and the troubles that come with relationships. ‘Everything’s Alright’ swirls blue with yellow, opening with livelier tones that seem to represent the beauty and pain that comes with getting older. A reflection of moments in life when we stop and realise where we are, ‘Everything’s Alright’ is a stunning rumination on letting life run its course.

‘I’ll Stay’ continues along the album’s line of brooding reflection, taking us along for the ride of merging thoughts and realisations that again occur in the relationships formed between people, delivered with wide-eyed vocals and ebbing instrumentation. ‘Home’ opens with a picturesque visualisation of surrounding rain and the sentimentality of a garden, the song maintaining the harmonic simplicity Outer South aim to achieve, flowing with a steady emotive disposition.

Opening with tones of soft rock familiar to the local scene, ‘Drag’ is a fluid stream of introspection and the feeling of being misunderstood. ‘Tell Me I’m Dreaming’ combines the emotivity throughout the songs into a final encore of thoughtful expression, a drawing close like the end scene of a film. It brings together the tale we’ve been brought along throughout the album; a stunning balance of melancholic and heartwarming that catches Outer South masterfully honing in on the nuances of emotion to leave us in a satisfied and compelling haze.

We Must Be Dreaming is out everywhere tomorrow.