FINN is to hype what water is to fire. Operating by the primary ingredients of their music – rootsy work-outs, bluesy growlers, wry folksy shuffles, Americana and rock touches – there are, however, gradations to Mark and Luke Finn’s doggedly unflashy craft. The 2016 album, “PERSONAL TRAITS”, was a genial 12-track sprawl through the band’s musical arsenal. Their new album “HIGH SIGNS”, while never deviating far from established expectations, possesses a different quality. An album threaded with themes of transience and ruminations on time and memory, it’s richly melodic, lyrically involving, and lusciously layered instrumentally, boasting an unhurried elegance and energetic but controlled intensity which elevates it to the ranks of the genre’s most affecting work.
FINN put their faith in Melbourne’s BLACK PEARL STUDIOS with producer Terry Hart of Maestro Productions, while they also brought in Scott Hull from Masterdisk to lend his professional ears to the album’s mastering. It’s serious stuff, but beautifully realized.
There’s room for some nifty musical footwork on wryly nostalgic soundscapes. “HIGH SIGNS” is dense, packed inch by square inch with those timeless styles that have long underpinned rock and roll music, the one constant being the smooth and dry baritone vocals.
It’s a broad cross section of moods that FINN are going after, but perhaps the highest praise that can be paid to the album is that regardless of what direction it turns in, it never loses his way. The album also pits some soulful and resonant guitar playing against fully orchestrated arrangements for some gorgeously arousing sounds and rhythms.
Each of these songs perfectly displays FINN’s well-established gift for melody and, above all, rarely does the guitar wander off on a tangent. Leads and solos are always constructed with the intent of adding something to the song, rather than simply displaying talent.
Right from the opening track, “FAITHFULLY”, this CD is excellent with FINN’s usual intense talent both musically and lyrically going beyond anything they’ve done before. There is something magical about the way they twist a story of raw circumstance into a melody that is extraordinarily palpable.
It is so human. Just listen and feel the peace and love on “LIKE I DO”. The production quality is as good as it gets in any genre, especially when the songs melt into a contemplative and mellow timbre, as they do on standouts “SO GLORIOUS” and “I WALK ALONE”. I think this latter song is perfect and so evocative of the feeling the entire album gives me.
FINN are able to pare things down to the point of utter simplicity, yet the lines are so full of meaning they cut right to your soul. They can write a line that is 5 words long and still bring a lump to your throat instantly. The album is deep and moving while somehow still being uplifting.
Stories and melodies like “DELIRIUM”, “PART TIME SUICIDE”, and “READY FOR THE NIGHT” are a reminder of the beauty and passion that can be felt when art is presented from the heart. But this album is full of wonderful songs that paint pictures in your mind. You can go on a trip mentally with each of them.
How can you ignore the tantalizing groove of “MY GIRL”, or the funky punch of “LADYBUG” and “BULLETS”. Though to be really honest, I was taken by the straight uplifting rhythms and wicked guitar lines of “BEWARE” and “AIN’T NOBODY NOW”.
“HIGH SIGNS” is one of those albums that quietly creeps up on the unconscious mind, subtly establishing itself a shining gem. FINN puts verve behind a genuine cerebral perspective within their music that alternates between the thoughtful, seductive and edgy. Grab this album, and you’ll be hooked.