Farseek – “New Short Haircut”

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Farseek – “New Short Haircut”


Farseek have been putting out heartfelt, sincere emo since 2015, and I know how that sounds, but believe me: nothing they have ever done has been predictable. Way before “y’allternative” became a popular meme, Farseek was mixing banjos and warm country into their songs that often stretch out into Built to Spill-style jam-fests. Lead singer Cameron Harrison is the project’s mastermind, and you can frequently find them social media posting updates from their home studio as they perfect a drum miking technique or find a new favorite amp setting.

The project is a vehicle for Harrison’s plainspoken lyrics that clearly state their purpose in a way that is somehow unexpected and disarming. Take 2019’s “Anything For Any Of You,” for example: “I love watching you succeed doing what you love. It makes me happy. I love all my friends. I’d do anything for any of you.” It would feel too blunt, too straightforward, if not for the obvious purpose of stripping everything down to its simplest form: Harrison clearly believes this shit, and wants to be clear about it. “It’s disappointing that you swallow all of these theories,” they tell a friend on “Doom Scroll” off their 2023 EP Intent, “And now you choose to ignore your powers.” Sometimes, if it’s a hard truth, you’re best off taking the most direct route.

Farseek began as a ramshackle punk rock Hit Clips — homemade CDs stuffed with dozens of minute-long songs about drinking Natty Light and loving your friends and taking shots at jerks, fascists, and everyone who thinks they’re too cool to try. It was a vehicle for Harrison’s thoughts that tumbled out in fragmented chunks. As time has gone on, Harrison has begun to stress the significance of the contributions of the Farseek band (a rotating cast of musicians and friends). Their unique noodling riffs — part emo, part country, part Doug Martsch — have expanded into a gorgeous palate of layered riffs, delicate keys, and twangy strings: miniature monuments of carefully stacked and quietly inventive guitar rock.

The best example of the sound they’re evolving into is their newest song, “New Short Haircut,” from the forthcoming Who Can Start The Fires? The song was originally released on 2021’s Standstill, but this is a full re-recording, not just a repackaged old tune. “New Short Haircut was stuck in my head for two years before I could finally make the original version and my friends truly made this version infinitely better,” Harrison said on Instagram. “The new edition features the full collective…I love how this version highlights their talents and makes the track so muhc stronger instead of a track I made in my bedroom during quarantine. It’s dreamy, loud, groovy, and infinitely better because of my friends.”

Like I said: Harrison really means this shit. “New Short Haircut” is their most complete statement so far, a gorgeous march accented by banjo, synth, mandolin, and trumpets. As usual, Harrison’s strength is directness, imbuing the simple lines with powerful yearning: “I’m always thinking about/ Your new short haircut/ The way the tips of your hair/ Kiss the collar of your blue denim jacket.” The elliptical banjo riff and swelling horns have hints of Sufjan Stevens, while the sunbaked guitar riffs and mandolin combine in a kind of “country-emo” many people have tried but few have been this successful at. What if Beulah was an emo band? What if Marietta had written Sufjan’s Illinoise?

At the end of the day, “New Short Haircut” doesn’t really sound like anything else because Farseek have never really sounded like anything else.

Who Can Start The Fires? is out 5/14 on Really Rad.

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