Percussive picking took the Internet Metal Nerd world by storm a few years ago, when a gentleman by the name of Jon Gomm entered the scene. However, the style has existed for decades, perhaps even more than that. Its main features are turning the guitar into a percussive instrument, whether by harsh picking/tapping on the fret-board or by actually drumming on the guitar body. It makes a sound which isn’t quite like any other: the guitar’s resonance lends it a melodic vibe, conjuring dreamy landscapes. However, I’ve never quite heard it utilized like it is on Farfetch’d and the album Southern Skies Motel. This is nothing less than a post rock album utilizing those vibes to further complement the already present, far out there feel of post rock. And it’s a one man project. And it’s from Bangalore, India. Let’s get started shall we?
I want to take you, first, to the middle of the album and the track “Moonshine”. It starts off with the meandering guitars I mentioned, several tracks overlaid over each other. Listen to the harsh picking though and how the strings rebound with amazing melody and reverb (in no small part due to the production). Slowly, the track builds itself around these intricate, delicate parts as they exchange verses and notes. Near the middle of the track is when everything comes to a head. Suddenly, faint strings are introduced, rising from the background. Then, dulcet drums until suddenly everything spills over and “Moonshine” erupts into full glory only to then snatch it away from you as fast as it began. It’s so well established, the catharsis so expertly constructed, that it makes you feel all sorts of things: freedom, longing, the need to write and shout and dance.
However, if you’re expecting that to be formula, just basic post rock writing with strummed guitars, you’re way, way off. Check out closing track, “Ambient Sketchbook”. True to its name, it’s almost like a manual for the rest of the album. It’s close to ten minutes long and during its deceptively quite run-time, ideas fall and rise as the track slowly constructs itself. By the time it ends, you feel as if the album itself has been bracketed, summarized into a neat, overreaching concept. Where other bands need clever and expansive musical idea, Farfetch’d does all of this with a minimalist approach by cleverly hiding the summary at the end of the album, in a cunning and demanding epilogue.
Oh, and need I mention that there are vocals on two tracks? Both “This Incoherent Pale Sky” and “Collide” have touching, gentle vocals which remind us of none other than yndi halda. To summarize, I urge you to give this album a full listen through. It has so many clever parts, leit motifs, guitar techniques and just honest, charming motivations. It is everything I love about post rock: wide eyed and yet close to the ground, over the top yet somehow intimate. In short, it is sublime.