Review Summary: Who is Finch?
“Here,” my cousin said, handing me a plain silver CD with ‘Finch’ written in black pen.
“Listen to these guys,” he added as I took the disc from him. “They’re pretty cool.”
Now, this was back in the day when I was a musical plebeian. Linkin Park’s Meteora
had just hit the shelves and the radio waves and I was loving it sick, although not as much as their debut. I had scattered tracks from assorted artists that I thought were ‘alternative’ and elevated beyond the pompous, commercialist driven artists whom only cared about passing off a mediocre, generic sound that built their mansions and paid for their needlessly expensive wardrobes. Songs like Bush’s Glycerine,
Hoobastank’s Crawling in the Dark
and the lesser known tracks of Oasis were the pinnacle of my musical and lyrical tutelage.
That all changed when I heard What It Is to Burn.
Finch produced catchy, pop-punk driven hooks and harsh, aggressive screams that opened my eyes to another aural world beyond my own and playfully hinted to me that they weren’t the only ones out there. Finch was effectively my gateway band into the plethora of varied sounds that house my overflowing CD racks. Without their intervention, who knows where I’d be now? Probably praising Fall Out Boy and Nickelback as the greatest bands of our generation.
So, I think it’s easy to see that I was crestfallen when Finch announced their ‘indefinite break’ after their second release, and what inexpressible joy I felt surge in me when I witnessed their unexpected return. Their new self titled EP was no naming breakthrough, but I grasped it eagerly and begun digesting it immediately, hoping for the best.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, their latest outing is a bit of a mixed bag. What made me place Finch at the top of my favourites list from both their first and second albums is harder to find. In sections of certain songs, however, it is blindingly obvious; the introduction to the EP and the first song, Daylight,
builds moderate suspense quickly with the climbing and falling guitar and distorted breath before Nate unleashes his impassioned scream. The breakdown of Chinese Organ Thieves
, although in a different vein entirely from WIITB’s Ender,
utilises a similar technique as the song recycles the same before gradually infusing with heavier, distorted buzzing and muffled yells until you’re not even sure you’re listening to the same track anymore. Although not a huge leap forward, Finch have thankfully strengthened what made them stand out from the myriad of bands groping for the pop-punk crown.
However, where their past (and certainly tighter) strengths pay off, they fall short in other areas that almost stab you in the ears with the unmistakeable blade of identity crisis. For example, the entire composition of From Hell’s
first verse is a jumbled mixture of their two previous styles that never truly gels by the time it reaches its conclusion. When I first heard the beginning of Famine or Disease
, I thought my playlist accidently skipped to a song of The Living End
that I hadn’t gotten around to listening to yet. Perhaps it’s only redeeming feature is the seamless exit from the energetic last verse to the gentle chord strums of its end, a la A Piece of Mind.
Too often does this EP exhibit Finch’s apparent lack of a decision to define their true sound. Although I encourage bands to experiment, this EP almost makes Finch seem confused as to what direction they wish to take. At times their future is bright, displayed in the consistent and well threaded Daylight
and Chinese Organ Thieves
, as well as the matured move away from such gimmicky tracks as Letters to You
. At the same time, wishy-washy style changes and poorly executed combinations of their last two efforts leaves a bitter taste on the tongue.
Despite the downfalls, I still recommend this EP for anyone who’s enjoyed a Finch song in the past, or migrated from the lovers to the haters upon release of Say Hello to Sunshine.
If Finch can find an identity and stick with it in their next full length appearance, perhaps I can rekindle that nostalgic enjoyment that awoke me from my aural slumber when that plain silver CD fell into my hand all those years ago.
(My first review, I'd love some constructive