“I’m just a kid, but life’s not a nightmare,” Jeremy Stern imparts matter-of-factly to open the third track off of Furnsss’ latest EP. And he’s right, Simple Plan’s line kind of loses its hold when you take into account the sounds Stern and his bandmates have been making of late. The Connecticut band have been writing earnest, fuzz-laced rock tunes with poppy hooks for five years now, since their early teens, and this past summer’s New Moves may be their most streamlined and affecting release to date. In a way, they’ve been growing up. Which of course comes with its own set of troubles, and “Slow Dark Water” evokes the interior of someone who’s just barely keeping it together, steeped in an anxious energy that swells and collapses in turn.
The video is a vexing slow-motion ordeal—among kids in bright garb with grotesque, overblown expressions, someone passes out and bleeds, leaving his pals wound up in hysterical laughter. Watching all of this unfold can be confounding: should we laugh with them? Is this even tongue-in-cheek at all? It’s this kind of ambiguity that energizes Furnsss’ music, so much of which deals with the woes of just trying to parse a tough world. At the end of the day, Furnsss are young—hardly of drinking age, if that—and director Ryan Schnackenberg wanted to elegize the weird nightmare that adolescence and early adulthood can in truth be. “I was thinking a lot about a general sense of exhaustion in youth culture,” he says. He sees in his peers a “refusal to grow up or accept that things are changing, and we use humor to deal with that sadness.” Humor, and cheap beer—though rest assured, to my knowledge Pabst did not sponsor the video.