On Electric Darlin’, Folk Family Revival’s soon-to-be-released new album, the Houston-based psychedelic folk-rock band has used their deft mixing of Americana and rock to create an album that vibrates with synergy. The band has already released three singles from the upcoming album, which is set to be released in full on June 7, and now they’ve added a new music video into the mix to accompany “Hecla Hill,” their third single from the upcoming album. The video, directed by Scott Morgan, the band’s so-called “Master of Zen Ceremonies,” who assists the band in many respects, including as tour emcee, opens with the chiming of a singing bowl, signifying that the space in which you are entering (the band’s own practice shed) is nothing short of sacred.
Nostalgic memorabilia, including posters from the band’s past tours and posters from bands the group idolizes, like Pink Floyd, line the busy walls of the frenetically decorated, neon-lit space. A “no outlet” sign that hangs on one wall visually represents the chaotic depiction of rock and roll that characterizes the band’s new video; it’s a conceit that also extends to Electric Darlin’ as a whole.
Although they are often miscategorized as a country band, with Electric Darlin’ Folk Family Revival solidifies their position as a folk-rock band. And while their latest release feels more rock and roll than folk, it still retains much of the trippy vibe and unique spiritual philosophy that characterizes the band’s earlier releases. Folk music has always been anchored in community tradition, ritual and togetherness, and Folk Family Revival continues that spirit of the folk tradition in a unique way by making the best of their own idiosyncratic traditions. Guitarist and vocalist Mason Lankford notes how folk music gave rise to rock and roll in the ’60s. Similarly, the band has grown from the rural sounds that characterized their earlier projects into full-blown rock.
The rock and roll lifestyle is not without it’s qualms, however. Mason describes it as a stressful rat race, saying it’s like “being torn between creative muse — you’re stuck in it, but it’s also freeing.” This notion plays out in Morgan’s camera work for “Hecla Hill.” As he hypnotically swirls his camera around the room, you can really feel the passion of the band members swell as the music resonates off the walls and cocoons them in their sacred space.
The importance of objects and space in the “Hecla Hill” video is apparent. In fact, the multi-colored lights, tapestries, and even the singing bowl in the video, are all objects that the band brings to their concerts because they contain a certain energy. During shows, Folk Family Revival sets up what they call their “Zen City,” a tent containing their favorite items that they invite concert goers to explore and create in.
The band members say that they’re interested in exploring what spirituality means today in the face of scientific fact. This theme is ever apparent in, “Hecla Hill,” which details the myths surrounding Hecla, one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. At the top of the mountain was said to be a portal where sacrifices were made to gain knowledge and gifts — not unlike the classic rock story of Robert Johnson, who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for increased talent on the guitar.
“I’m going up to the top of Hecla Hill to find the brother of the son from Bethlehem / He’s neither woman nor a man / Not a lion or a lamb / I found a portal of immortals at the top of Hecla Hill,” go the lyrics of the mystical song.
After the band’s June 7 album release, they will embark on a long-anticipated tour, during which they hope to debut Electric Darlin’ as the concept album it is. Instead of playing one-off songs during their show, the band hopes to create a special experience for their audience by playing the album as one big loop, which is essentially what the album is — a circular whole, a whole packed full of spiraling scales of guitar pluckin’ and spiritual conduction. Fibonacci and his golden ratio would be pleased.
Folk Family Revival’s release party for their new album is at Heights Theater on Saturday, June 8. Doors open at 7 p.m. Be there or be square.