I have damned myself to hear this out, one more time.
I wrote it down in blood: "Never forget my love",
Faith as endearing as the other side.
I'm on this freight train with derailed suspicion
Writing it all down in blood.
Finch - "Dreams of Psilocybin"
In 2002, Finch exploded onto the music scene with their first major release, "What it is to Burn", starting a whole new genre of music
that has since been watered down by the flood of copy cat bands that followed. Then for a while it
seemed that they had simply dropped off the face of the Earth, until they eventually returned in mid-2005. But be warned; this ain't Finch 1.0.
Originating from Temecula, California, Finch has retained nearly the same line up since their early days as "Numb". Their rise to fame did not
come without struggle. Guitarist Randy Strohmeyer had kept in touch with Drive-Thru Records ever since writing a fan letter to the label years earlier. Through the years he kept in contact with the label, until Finch had been finalized and was ready. They rented a
studio and Richard Reines (Drive-Thru Record's co-owner) agreed to hear. Needless to say, they blew his mind, and he immediately called his sister
Stefanie (Drive-Thru co-owner) into the studio to give the band a listen. Finch was offered a recording contract on the spot.
Their debut album, the "Falling Into Place" EP, was released on October 9th, 2001 and sold an impressive 6,000 copies by the end of 2001. Even
though the album only contained four tracks, it caught on quickly and Finch developed a devoted following. The band went back into the studio to begin
working on their first full length record. On March 12, 2002, "What it is to Burn" was released, a 13 track record ranging between emo melodies, punk
rhythm, pop hooks, and aggressive breakdowns covering the entire emotional spectrum. If one listens closely they are sure to pick out influences such
as the Deftones and Glassjaw. With the release of "What it is to Burn", the emo-core/screamo music scene took off. Their third record, "Say Hello To
Sunshine" was released on June 7, 2005, and brought with it a schism in the fan base established by "What it is to Burn".
In the three year hiatus after "What it is to Burn", Finch went through many changes. Fans of their previous release may be disappointed, "Say Hello
to Sunshine" is certainly NOT "What it is to Burn Part 2". The music scene had changed substantially in the last three years, and what was new and
revolutionary in 2002 was old hat in mid-2005. Not wanting to become stagant, Finch once again released an album unlike anything else on the scene. This
release, however, did not come without sacrifice. Six months into recording, the band realized that former drummer Alex Pappas wasn't working with the
new direction the other members were trying to go. The band decided to replace him with Marc Allen, drummer from the now defunct math rock band
Counterfit, as well as replacing their producer, Mark Trombino, for friend Jason Cupp.
It is a little difficult to describe Finch's sound, partly because of the vast difference between "What it is to Burn" and "Say Hello to Sunshine".
Many reviews of the latter have labeled it as math rock, a statement I can't back up not being familiar with that genre. To be sure, the complexity
of their music has increased; changing time signatures mid-song, abrupt mood changes, and using the drums as more than simply a time
keep device are just a few examples. The typical emo-core screaming is present, but Vocalist Nate Barcalow has significantly increased his vocal range,
going from low growls to melodic singing to high pitched screams in a single song. What initially comes to mind in comparison is Serj Tankian of
System of a Down, with a punkier edge. The guitar work has also been drastically improved since the days of "What it is to Burn", and with influences
such as Edward Scissorhands and Pee Wee's Big Adventure, one should expect quite a diverse sound.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Finch perform live, first at the Meow Meow in Portland, and a second time at The Boardwalk in
Sactown. They put on an amazing show, exhibiting tons of stage energy and a great connection with the crowd. Nate is constantly
running around or on the ground, thrashing around the stage and tripping up the other members of the band. They are the most active band on stage I have
ever seen, and yet the quality of their music is never diminished. Unlike many other new generation punk bands, the songs Finch play
live actually sound like the recorded versions (and sometimes better). Yet, offstage, Finch aren't big time rock stars; I stood next to
Randy and Alex during the show in Portland, and noticed Alex selling t-shirts at The Boardwalk. They are always approachable and easy to talk to (if you
can get through the crowd to get to them).
If you want emo songs of unrequited love, or perhaps musings on the life of a high school student, you might prefer Blink 182. Finch have evolved
into a darker, somewhat more mysterious band; as can be seen on "Say Hello To Sunshine", from the first line ("Oh my God, I think I'm blind") to the last
("Writing it all down in blood"). Finch have proved themselves to be more than a pop punk, flash in the pan band. While the genre they started slowly
begins to fade, Finch will last by always staying one step ahead.
Randy Strohmeyer (R2K): guitar/backup vocals
Alex Linares (Grizz): guitar
Marc Allen: drums
Derek Doherty: bass
Nate Barcalow: vocals
Falling Into Place - October 9, 2001 (Drive-Thru Records)
- Perfection Through Silence
- Letters to You
- New Kid
What it is to Burn - March 12, 2002 (Drive-Thru Records)
- New Beginnings
- Letters To You
- Post Script
- Grey Matter
- Perfection Through Silence
- Without You Here
- Stay With Me
- Project Mayhem
- Three Simple Words
- What it is to Burn
- What it is to Burn - demo version (Australian release only)
Say Hello To Sunshine - June 7, 2005 (Drive-Thru/Geffen Records)
- Insomniatic Meat
- Revelation Song
- Brother Bleed Brother
- Piece of Mind
- Hopeless Host
- Reduced to Teeth
- A Man Alone
- Bitemarks and Bloodstains
- The Casket of Roderick Usher
- Dreams of Psilocybin
- Gak 2 (UK bonus track)
Many thanks to Zero Signal for the info about the Australian release of WIITB!
Last updated July 28th, 2005