With pounding drums and a burst of fuzzy guitar, Harrison Scarecrow launch into their third single, the indie-noir of ‘Last Days of California’. For all the power of the guitars and the sonic layers, it’s the strength of the melody and the evocative, dreamy vocal that engages the listener. The LA-based group cite the likes of Springsteen, Isbell and Conor Oberst as influences and there’s certainly the same sense of sweeping cinema and atmosphere that characterises their work.
The inspiration for the song came from the late-night conversations the band’s vocalist Ryan Tomlin used to hear in the alley outside his apartment, as he explains: “I lived on the second floor of an apartment building behind Jr.’s Market & Liquor in LA. There was no air conditioning so in the summer I’d sleep with the windows open and could hear all the goings-on in the alley behind Jr.’s. Vagrants would gather there to drink and chat, telling stories about their past and discussing hopes for the future. The song references the last days of youth, of promise, and of hopes when you’re ‘too old to dream what a young man dreams’.”
A sense of nostalgia permeates the accompanying visual, which features various locations shown in a found-footage style. There’s an over-riding feeling of memory and time sweeping by, mirroring the song’s theme of the ephemeral, fleeting nature of youth. Band member Will McCracken shared exclusively with AUK: “Whereas Ryan and I each took a solo role in our first two videos [‘Everyone With Someone’ and ‘New Year’s Eve’], we wanted to take a different direction for this film and not have any one person serve as a character, but rather the landscape of California take center stage. The imagery (created by the team at Two8 Productions) represents the simplicity and beauty of everyday life, but also the contrast of warmth & isolation, much like the song’s music and lyrics.”
A debut album from Harrison Scarecrow is expected in the spring of 2022. Based on the three singles so far, it promises to be a richly atmospheric and stylistically varied record from the Alabama natives. In the meantime, check this out.