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Album Review: Fink – Hard Believer

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd July 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

I was first introduced to Fink by fellow TGTF writer Cheryl, who described their 2011 album ‘Perfect Darkness’ as being “like a smooth whiskey”. We listened to it while getting ready to go out to a gig (I can’t remember now who we were going to see), and it occurred to me very quickly that a more apt comparison has probably never been made. Fink’s lyrics, sung by frontman Fin Greenall, are dark and bittersweet, their potent flavor quickly subdued by the deep, spreading warmth of the rhythmic groove provided by bassist Guy Whittaker and drummer/guitarist Tim Thornton.

Fink were looking to build on the success of ‘Perfect Darkness’ (reviewed by our John here) when they wrote and recorded their fifth LP ‘Hard Believer’. Once again, they decamped to Los Angeles to work with American producer Billy Bush, who also produced ‘Perfect Darkness’, at Sound Factory studios. The band have described ‘Hard Believer’ as their most collaborative effort to date; thus, I’ve chosen to use the name Fink here to refer to the full trio rather than to Greenall himself. (Watch the band’s video commentary ‘The Making of Hard Believer’ below.)

[youtube]http://youtu.be/xLHPQ3d-Rj8[/youtube]

According to Ninja Tune Records, who have provided support for the album’s release, the phrase “Hard Believer” comes from the vernacular of the American South, where it refers to a person “who is difficult to persuade, who requires proof”. Musically, that Southern drawl is felt immediately in the bluesy guitar riffs and languid vocals of the title track, which you might already have heard in our previous MP3 of the Day feature.

As the album progresses, its tone shifts between artfully coaxing another person and desperately hoping to convince oneself, as in the subtle but edgy ‘2 Days Later’ and the fragile façade of ‘Looking Too Closely’ (featured earlier as a Video of the Moment). ‘Pilgrim’ pairs the provocative lyric “Come a long way / not to ask the question that’s been on your lips all the way” with a palpably anxious and harmonically dissonant rhythmic pulse. The expansive and evolving ‘Shakespeare’ reflects on the fictional tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in the context of a failed romance, building from a sparse and gentle acoustic to a lush, full dynamic over the repeated phrases “Turn the pages / and learn nothing…”

Throughout the album, Fink make effective use of their usual tools: hypnotically repetitive lyrics, spellbindingly sensual rhythms and Greenall’s alluring vocals. While only a few specific moments stand out on ‘Hard Believer’, the record maintains a sense of penetrating emotional warmth and its parting impact is strong, not at all unlike the effect of a rich single malt Scotch late in the evening.

7.5/10

Fink‘s fifth album ‘Hard Believer’ is out now on Fin Greenall’s new label R’COUP’D.

 

Video of the Moment #1564: Fink

 
By on Thursday, 3rd July 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Fink has taken a literal approach to his latest video for ‘Looking Too Closely’, which will appear on the ‘Hard Believer’ LP out on the 14th of July on R’COUP’D. See what I mean by ‘literal’ by watching the video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoWRs7lXtYE[/youtube]

 

MP3 of the #827: Fink

 
By on Wednesday, 7th May 2014 at 10:00 am
 

Slow-burning, sensual rockers Fink are back again with their fifth studio album this summer to follow up the perfection that was ‘Perfect Darkness’. As a teaser, they are letting us have a tidbit, the album’s title track ‘Hard Believer’, early to whet our appetite. Can you feel the long languid summer nights in its groove? I can. And I can’t wait for the rest for the album.

Listen here and grab a free download below so you can immerse yourself in the sweet sounds before the album gets to us in July.

 

Album Review: Fink – Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet

 
By on Tuesday, 6th November 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

The fabulous three-piece Fink have released a live album entitled ‘Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet’. Referencing a life changing moment from their song ‘Wheels’, this collection ably captures the undulating, moving, live Fink experience. Recorded at various magnificent venues like Amsterdam’s Paradiso and London’s Union Chapel, the songs span Fink’s career. With thirteen tracks, this album is packed with the best Fink has to offer. Since it is from the current tour, half of the tunes are from the most recent album ‘Perfect Darkness’, but starting off with ‘Biscuits’ from the first album, Fin Greenall, Tim Thornton and Guy Whittaker let you know they have no intention of ignoring their roots.

Having just seen Fink play live, I can attest to the authenticity of the album. Greenall and company can take these works and elevate them so that they soar without the production that surely goes into a studio effort. An absolute revelation occurred for me during ‘Sort of Revolution’. There have been times before when seeing a truly inspired live performance caused perfect clarity regarding a certain musical performance style; for example, purposely creating feedback or live looping. It was just such clarity that was afforded me on this track. But this time it was ‘playing the pedals’. The end of this track is a genius tour de force of pedal manipulation that makes it all make sense.

There are a few times when I think the original recordings shine a bit brighter than the live versions. Perhaps because it is my #1 favorite Fink song, ‘Perfect Darkness’, is a song that hits much deeper in the studio version for me. I can’t quite reconcile the deep, oozing sensuality of the song with the rather spare treatment it gets live. But the clarity in songs like ‘This is the Thing’ and ‘Warm Shadow’ shine through live in magnificent form.

However, the fundamental feelings I have about Fink’s music still hold true. The music, lead singer Greenall’s voice, and the lyrics can best be described as sex, whiskey and smoke – but slow, meaningful sex, single malt, Islay whiskey and deep, flavourful pipe smoke. This is not your average drunken encounter with a fag hanging from your lips. If you have not had the pleasure of delving into this rich, weighty music, please take a listen to this live album. It very well may inspire you to take a look at their other stuff. Because quite frankly, Barry White will have no place in your life after you listen to Fink.

8/10

‘Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet’, the new live album from Fink, is available now on Ninja Tune.

 

Live Gig Video: Fink performs ‘This is the Thing’ in Hampstead for Mahogany Sessions

 
By on Friday, 21st September 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Fink, aka Brighton-based singer/songwriter Fin Greenall, recently recorded this acoustic version of ‘This is the Thing’ for the Mahogany Sessions, and we wanted you to see it. The backdrop used for the shoot has been described as “Hampstead, down an extremely narrow but beautiful alleyway leading up to a church, lit by dainty streetlights”. Sounds great to us. Watch the performance below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKRyivrwRAI[/youtube]

 

MP3 of the Day (and more!) #613: Fink

 
By on Thursday, 30th August 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Fink, the band name for Brighton based singer-songwriter Fin Greenall, have a live treat for us. The track ‘Fear is Like Fire’, from the upcoming live release ‘Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet’, is a deep and delicious sampling of what is in store from the album. Download it from the widget below.

Due out the 8th of October on Ninja Tune Records, this live album chronicles Fink’s Perfect Darkness Tour across Europe and the UK earlier this year. Whatever you do, don’t miss him play his biggest UK show to date at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire on the 27th of November.

For a feeling for Fink’s live performance too, check out this classically shot performance of ‘Fear is Like Fire’ from Fink’s sold out Koko show back in February. Taking advantage of home turf, Fink blows away all expectations to deliver a room-silencing performance of one of his stellar tracks from 2011’s ‘Perfect Darkness’. The video gives you just a hint of the magnificent stage production that was developed by 59 Productions, from Jonsi and War Horse fame.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoZPObVAEBI[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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