Album Review: Finch – “Back to Oblivion”

If you wanted a love song to Finch‘s old records, this is it. It’s the part-screamo, mostly-post-hardcore effort that fans of the band┬áloved and hoped would become a mainstay sound in the world of rock and roll. Sad to say, as much as I was a fan and moshed the fuck out of songs like “Untitled”, this album really ends up nodding to bands like The Used, Incubus and even Linkin Park – music that was meant to last no more than three years. Why? Because they all stuck to a formula and even when they deviated, it just couldn’t connect. When they tried to go back to nostalgic basics, that’s when the test of time came in, and you cringed wondering…’seriously, I liked this back then?’ — and this isn’t me being harsh. I can listen to records from Everclear, KoRn, Goo Goo Dolls, Thursday, FFAF and so many others without regret but when it comes to Finch, there’s just a sinking feeling that maybe you overrated them.

“Anywhere But Here” and the self-titled openers are the only tracks that really resonate. You’re left wanting to fast forward the others and praying for the record to end. The riffs are true to Finch, melodic and speedy yet very much in tune to the lyrical delivery, yet there’s just a subtle tone of boring repetition. This was an opportunity for them to amp the post-hardcore up and meet contemporary rock halfway but instead goes out the window as a wasted chance. The other tracks feel forgettable and anything but art – just products assembled in a studio with no personal link to the audience.

Maybe that’s where the disconnect is. Is it that I as a Finch fan have outgrown them and their young sound? Did I mature? Are they latching onto times past and lagging musically? Do they need to develop and roll with times? To all, I resoundingly submit yes. They came off too straightforward, quite trite and very elementary. I’m over those days to be honest but when Joyce Manor musically reels me back in to them, I’m hooked. Finch though, not so much. The instrumentation’s tight and everything seems intact apart from their writing and overall balance. “The Great Divide” and “Us vs. Them” try to salvage things (and note, they’re catchy and not bad at all) but Finch needs to contemplate how the musical landscape’s changed because they’re musically stuck in an arcane era. Adapt or die, survival of the fittest. Get with the program.

Note: I loved Finch and will continue to wear their hearts on my sleeve. But I needed a bit more from this rather than taking back to my dark-room and absconding from home-work, contemplating how to get with the hottest girl in the prom.

1.5 / 5 Stars

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