Fink – [Album]

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Trend after trend emerges in the music scene, and we chase after them until the next new thing comes around. Sometimes these trends explode into defining eras, but even those shrink back to make way for what comes next. It seems that in all this chasing we can forget about where the music starts: when a jilted man picks up a guitar and sings about the wiley bitch who left him. The singer/songwriter is the one genre that never goes out of vogue, and amazingly can sound as fresh as the latest thing. I'm guilty of spending too much time scouring these trends, looking for the next paradigm shift in music, but it takes an album like Distance and Time to remind me that reinvention is possible within a genre.

Distance and Time is the latest album from Fink, a trio composed of Fin Greenall (singer/songwriter), Guy Whittaker (bass) and Tim Thornton (drums). Greenall started his music career as a DJ in Brighton, England, but after recording the first Fink album in 2001 titled Fresh Produce, he has followed a more acoustic approach. Now with the release of the third Fink album, Distance and Time, Greenall is solidifying himself as a notable singer/songwriter.

Throughout the entire album, Greenall uses his distinctive blues voice to carry the mood. The instrumentals, although important, are kept minimalist and act to compliment Greenall's vocals. Instrumentally, the most notable aspect of Distance and Time is the deep resonance of the finger-picked guitar. Songs like “Make it Good” and “Get Your Share” are perfect examples of the romanticized loneliness evoked in Greenhall's voice and lyrics. Fink has a quality I haven't quite been able to put my finger on. There's a disconcerting vibe of accumulated sadness on the album. The songs may seem bitter but in an introspective, rather than blaming, manner.

Distance and Time is the expression of all our collective jilts and break ups that we still lament over. But as sad and regret-ridden as the songs are, there's still a sweetness that reminds us why we even try in the first place. The lyrics seem to suggest a man who has been tantalizingly close to love but in the end couldn't escape the fate of loneliness. How fitting that the album should be released so close to Valentine's Day: when all of us single souls are bitterly casting love off as a useless cascade of chemicals in the brain. This album is here to reaffirm our suspicions that love just wasn't meant for some. In the end, though, Fink will be the music we put on to keep from ever feeling like we're alone.

Distance and Time will be out February 26, 2008, on Ninja Tune.

More on Fink here:

Watch the video for “This Is the Thing”:

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