With a name like The Family Crest, you’d expect a significant level of comradery, synchronization, and harmonization, especially considering this San Franciscan clan consists of a whopping seven members. Despite lacking core ancestral commonalities as their name implies, The Family Crest is built around a mob mentality. Originating as lead singer Liam McCormick’s recording project, their first production came back in 2008 with separate samples from over 100(!) musicians across Northern California compiled into one small collective of songs. As they grew in popularity they ironically needed to shrink in size, compressing the orchestral numbers that their brand was centered around into a seven piece assembly that sounds as though they’re double that size.
At first glance this music video just seems like a simple process of setting up shop in random places where there’s no need to rent out recording space, thus providing a cheap visual to accompany the audio. The amount of effort and subtle inclusions that The Family Crest sneak into this video however, is fairly surprising. For example, I somehow sense a connection in McCormick and the rest of the band’s refusal to open their eyes during many part of their set with with the unnamed character whom the song refer to’s decision to hide away from the world. Their close-eyed bellows are amusingly paired with constantly changing and commonly beautiful aesthetics of California, which apparently took immense amounts of technical preparation to set up through timely measurement systems intended to show off the Golden State through a green screen effect. McCormick and piano player Laura Bergmann wrote in a joint email to NPR that, “In the end, this song is about experiencing the good and bad in life, and being able to recognize the beauty and fluid nature of our existence. By shooting amidst these epic landscapes, we explore ‘The World’ and our admiration for it while acknowledging the impact it has on us as humans.” In addition to the upbeat celebration of positivity, the downbeat change of pace around minute three is such a fun modification of direction. Including what seems like two songs in one five minute track is refreshing, playing off common memories of “Band On The Run” that make listeners think “Wait…is this still the same song…?”