Elim Bolt

“Farm Kid” – Elim Bolt

With something of the big ringing clamor of Arcade Fire, “Farm Kid” rocks to a swinging backbeat, adorned with delectably droney guitars. The verse is understated and blurry; we register the beat, bask in the guitar work, and don’t understand a word. And this is how we are led, perhaps against expectations, into a brilliant, indelible chorus. Too catchy for its own good, this chorus messes further with our heads by offering up the song’s only intelligible lyric, which is almost too straightforward for its own good, if it weren’t also so piteous:

And all I wanna do is truly love you
But all I seem to do is deeply hurt you

Otherwise buried in elusive aural mud, front man Johnnie Matthews emerges with these words as a full-fledged crooner, and everything about the song all of a sudden—the melody (half sing-along, half slippery), the lyrics, the delivery—grabs at the soul. The guitar that rejoins us next, first heard in the introduction, has acquired a majestic, pealing air, all the more effective for the nearly-audible distortion it seems to be keeping constantly at bay. (Some of it will break loose during the solo, at 2:49.) There is something so cumulatively affecting about “Farm Kid” that it manages to seem almost still a little short even while clocking in at over four and a half minutes. That’s usually the length at which songs begin to seem a little long.

You’ll find the song on the band’s debut album, entitled Nude South, which is scheduled for release next month on Hearts and Plugs Records.