Partisan Records (label)
26 April 2019 (released)
26 April 2019
‘I need a new war’ - named after a lyric in the album’s American Civil War Union General referencing ‘Grant at Galena’ - is the concluding part of a trilogy that commenced with 2015’s ‘Faith In The Future’ and 2017’s ‘We all want the same things’.
By now you oughta know what to expect, understand what you get: (sub)urban slices and snapshots, (un)seen snippets of (un)lived lives and rural ruminations of time, place, space and the personal politics of modern everyday existence. Drinking, thinking, sinking, bars, cars, girls, boys, foreclosures of shops and relationships and the inner/outer noise(s) of the precipitous consumption of the pleasure classes (‘‘A bathtub in the kitchen’s hospitable Frances’s sage advice to ‘always tips big on the first round’) all frame Finn’s landscape.
Chief inspiration Big Boss Man Springsteen’s ‘The River’ sonically streams and gushes through ‘Blankets’ with its heartland invocations ‘when you’re home on the prairie there’s still a couple of people you can call’ amounting to a harmonica-melancholia of plaintive fortuitous virtuosity.
Graffiti art and its subversive properties are stifled on ‘Magic Marker’ where ‘everybody’s talking about the President and me, I’m never sure what I should say’. An implicit tale of the polarising effects of politics, what could (and probably should) unify only diversifies, opinions vary amongst communities with cohesion an invisible lesion.
There’s a mid-50s ambience to ‘Indications’ ‘sometimes I feel these buildings keep me in shadows, sometimes it feels like they’re whispering something that hurts’ an aside to the illusory progress of looming buildings, their traces left imprinted on the psychogeographic sense of self. Architecture that corrals and coerces movement through darkness, environmental enlightenment a bygone notion in sights/sites of glass and steel, psychological prism-prisons.
‘Anne Marie & Shane’ has breezy echoes of Billy Joel’s ‘Tell her about it’ and Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’ (two '50's throwbacks themselves inspired by Pat Boone’s ‘Speedy Gonzales’) with the line ‘everybody’s family til you don’t get paid’ a cursory reminder of what do/can you do when the money-go-round ceases to move? Who’s ultimately there to turn to?
Finn once again masterfully turns the minutiae and minuscule into a(nother) sum of purple proselytising, ever hopeful poetry in slow-motion. Giving perspective to those with narrow socio-economically imposed horizons, the heroes and zeroes, the beaten down but never downbeat, the boozers and losers, the living dead and the dead alive, the ones and toos that pass by in the blink of an eye, Finn gives them names, oxygen and life so you never miss them again.
Another steady-hold on reality *ahem*