New York City-born, Twin Cities-based indie rock band Hurrah A Bolt of Light is a living portfolio documenting the constant evolution of its main songwriter, Wil Farr. Whether it’s sound, format, or home base, change is considered fundamental to Hurrah’s creative process.
To date, Hurrah has released two full length albums and numerous singles. Its previous album was a shiny, pop album recorded in LA. Its latest release retains Hurrah’s penchant for hooks, but does so in a darkly alluring context that subverts all pop conventions. AN/ANIMAL, due out this Friday, January 28th, is Hurrah’s long-awaited “visual album.” It’s an ambitious artistic offering that pairs a 16-minute piece of music to be released in four movements with a stunning long-form video. AN/ANIMAL is an immersive experience brimming with haunting visuals, abstract and emotionally evocative lyrics, and a mesmerizing swampy sensibility.
Wil is the sonic curator of Hurrah, and he is a multi-instrumentalist with a rock background and an affinity for abstract soundscapes. He started Hurrah over a decade ago in New York City, but Wil relocated the project to Minneapolis, Minnesota, believing the vibrant music scene there would be the perfect place to start the project’s next phase. Wil’s work seeks to balance artistic fearlessness and creative wanderlust with a reverence for pop music.
“I’m interested in evoking feelings with my music,” Wil shares. “Young-adult science fiction had a profound effect on me. The stories weren’t always very clear, but they brought forth strong emotions. That approach really influenced me.”
Hurrah’s music has been favorably described as “pop music for sad people.” It’s an aptly broad description that fits Wil’s restless creativity which defies genres, though Wil’s songwriting has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Modest Mouse, and Kings of Leon. Hurrah has earned critical accolades from such outlets as The Deli Magazine, BreakThru Radio, Time Out New York, QRO, and Radio Free Chicago. Live Hurrah, is frenetic and sweat-soaked with Wil as the lightning-rod epicenter, leading his ensemble through a catalog of songs that feel instantly familiar and anthemic.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the visual album AN/ANIMAL, which presents its audience with four songs strung into one narrative, made complete by the eerie visuals of its accompanying short film. The compelling short film pieces together the band’s soulful indie rock and pop sound, tying in explosive dynamics, primal urgency, deceptively catchy hooks, and elements from gospel, indie, rock, prog, country, ambient, and, as always, an infectious pop sensibility. Thematically, the lyrics are poetic, obtuse, and alive with desperation. Despite having no film experience, Wil wrote, acted in and edited the film, though he is also joined on- and off-screen by a group of talented, enthusiastic film professionals, actors, and friends. The movie component documents a man being kidnapped and stuck in an endless loop of horrors. It’s a fantastical, disorienting, and wildly fishtailing epic with cultish overtones of transformation. The music almost feels like an audio representation of the protagonist’s inner feelings. Moments of despair, tragic solitude, pangs from a fear of death, and confusion course through the densely-layered and cleverly-arranged music.
Wil Farr describes the inspiration behind the concept and video:
When we started recording An/Animal, I thought it would be a standard album with no through-line. Once the writing was complete and the production and arranging of these four particular songs began, I started putting the pieces together and realized they could be made into one story – both visually and musically. All of the music was recorded and arranged within a fairly quick time period. The vocals were recorded in only three takes, back to back, to convey a sense of realness and urgency. A lot of arrangements and material were left on the cutting room floor. At one point there was even a horn section!
For the video element, we assembled a cast and crew of talented friends and got to work stitching together the visual aspect of the story. Most of that process involved me being chased through the woods and being otherwise tortured, so that was interesting! After a few false-starts in the editing process, I decided to direct my attention to editing the film myself during the pandemic. Being an audio guy, video editing was new to me, but I was able to piece together the film as I saw it in my head.
I hope An/Animal can be viewed in its totality as the intense, personal wild ride I consider it to be, but if folks just want to listen to a song or two while working out, I think it will serve them nicely!
Photo credit: Dallas Currie