Do you ever get a sense of overwhelming nervousness when you’re reviewing a certain album? Well, that’s exactly what I had when I saw this on the to-do list.
It’s strange to think that it’s been nine years since Finch released their last full-length effort, ‘Say Hello to Sunshine’. Now, after hiatuses, EPs, failed albums, breaks ups and full shows dedicated to their debut album ‘What It Is To Burn’, the California boys are back and are ready to show everyone how much they’ve grown.
It’s safe to say that the twelve tracks on this album have a lot to live up to. Once you’re through with the first – and title – track, ‘Back to Oblivion’, you could be forgiven for feeling a little underwhelmed. Yes, it’s catchy and it’s clear that Nate Barcalow’s voice has matured, but it’s not as big or as standout as you would expect an opening track to be. Especially not when the band have been away for almost a decade. Sceptics, I’m with you, but keep pressing play and I promise that all of your fears will evaporate.
The next track, ‘Anywhere But Here’, has already been released as a single and introduces listeners to Finch’s new sound. It’s grown up, it’s slightly eerie, and it really suits the band. This sound can do sombre, this sound can do furious and, the more the album progresses, the more the band themselves seem to find their confidence in it.
There are clear strengths on the album. Finch’s version of a ballad, ‘Murder Me’, is presented a few tracks into the album and breaks up the pace just slightly. It’s sombre and entrancing and it allows Barcalow’s witchy vocals to shine – you could almost see it as a No Devotion track. Tracks like ‘Play Dead’, ‘Us vs Them’ and ‘Inferium’ capitalise on their new sound, bringing big rock choruses to silence the doubts of the listener. Barcalow’s vocal versatility shines on ‘Tarot’, which is possibly the strongest track on the album, as it flaunts the ever-growing talents of the whole band.
All in all, there are still things to be worked on here. The weakness of the opening track is an issue but, overall, the band sit comfortably in their new sound. Barcalow’s vocals are better than ever and, if they’re half the live performers they used to be, these new tracks will go down ridiculously well with crowds. Good to have you back, gents. Don’t leave it so long next time!
‘Back to Oblivion’ is released on September 29th through Spinefarm Records. You can pre-order it here.