Review Summary: the most wonderful case of "oops they did it again"
2010 has certainly proved to be a busy year for Matt Finney and his Ukrainian collaborator Heinali; released early this year was the duo's first joint effort, The Town Line EP, an adventurous excursion into post-rock influenced ambient that earned rave reviews not only through the eclectic yet, touching compositions of Heinali, but also through the truly throught provoking prose strongly spoken by Finney. As if one excellent wasn't enough, June saw the release of the collaboration's second work, The Lemonade EP. Introducing a darker tone with Finney's decidedly more personal lyrics and Heinali's almost complete reversal into ambient infused post-rock, The Lemonade EP cemented the fact that Heinali/Finney partnership could rest assured that they did the year right.
What many of us fans didn't realize, is that they weren't done with the year just quite yet.
Although a far cry from the serene, classical ambient inspired compositions of The Town Line EP, Conjoined is still very much a natural progression of Heinali's previous work; building off what he had started with the Lemonade EP, Conjoined continues the composer's trend of progressively creating darker and darker pieces. "A Chant" introduces the the juxtaposition of cold, drone metal influenced guitars and emotionally charged waves of heartwarming atmospherics, a combination that while risky, inevitably pays off in large dividends. While tracks like "Under God's Heaven" and "Conjoined" (which ironically sounds like it would belong perfectly on The Town Line EP) reveal Heinali's soft spot for beautifully melancholic textures, Conjoined is darker still; "Postcard" stumbles forward blindly in a disarrayed state of schizophrenic panic and closing track "Lifetime" explores the harsh, repetitive static of ambient noise.
Lyrically Cojoined doesn't so noticeably target specific "subjects" as The Town Line EP and The Lemonade EP did; on this album Matt Finney targets everything. Always with a solemn conviction, the words of Finney ring with nothing but resonating, emotional chime. "Under God's Heaven" is heavily focused on the mishandling of a generation where Finney mutters in contempt: "Believe in distance. Believe in silence. We're a nation of grown men filming teenagers being ***ed like dogs. We're a nation of dead birds." Reigning in to more personal matters, "Conjoined" is a relaetable tale of self-doubt: "I sat there thinking about who I had failed most recently and I wondered if they even noticed".
Conjoined is certainly the most developed Heinali and Matt Finney collaboration as of yet; the former contributor has truly expanded upon the work on the previous albums, creating musical landscapes of the highest pedigree while the latter's honest delivery could very well have you in a mess of tears. And while the third Heinali and Matt Finney collaboration of the year is unquestionably their best release yet, one question does still remain; how's it coming on the fourth split guys?