Taking a quarantine solo slant off from his work with Sunfruits, Melbourne’s Winter McQuinn has put together a psych-pop gem that’s indebted to the Syd/Spence psych continuum, but shaves off the shaky edges in favor of more modern pop polish. The record starts out with its hands deep in the past on the single “Agent Apple Orange,” a shaggy folk-pop nugget that establishes the album’s wobble from the start, but the deeper one goes into McQuinn’s solitary psych jaunt, the more dense the layers become. Weaving with a gelatinous pop that latches onto newer dosers like HOLY or Evolfo, the record looks bent for lysergic ends, but McQuinn’s got a country/folk nerve to contend with as well and thus shaggier, sun-strewn tracks like “Friendship Pheromone,” and “Goodbye Now,” sidle up alongside Aussie indies like The Babe Rainbow and Quality Used Cars with a balance of West Coast calm and country sway.
The low-slung quality puts this pretty squarely in line with his rippled renderings in Sunfruits, though there’s a much more off-the-cuff nature built into A Rabble of Bees. McQuinn’s still pulling at the loose threads of pop, but they unravel even further in his solo daze, letting him indulge in whims that might not work in a more collaborative context. With jangled guitars and heat warped keys, McQuinn has created an album that delights in being slightly askew, pop that slides just slightly off axis and even if this was just a one off whim, its a fun album to get lost in the Rabble he’s made.
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