Another “down under” collective that has been deemed the “Powerpop Supergroup”, the Finkers have recorded merely six songs for this release. But you get the impression that they have close to 400 of these somewhere in a can, perhaps not exactly the perfected power pop of these half-dozen, but damn near better than anything released on either side of the band in recent time. The band consists of Michael Carpenter (Pyramidiacs), Mick O’Regan (Intercontinental Playboys among others), Matt Allison (the Slaters), and Mickster (the Stoneage Hearts). As the Finkers, they get to the gorgeous heart of this too brief effort with “Drugs & Jesus”. Starting off with a riff that Keith Richards might still have in his arthritic bones, the sound makes the listener wonder where in the world is former Replacement Tommy Stinson and when will he be free of that twit W. Axl. Oozing with a happy-go-lucky rhythm section, without being sounding too summery, the guitar solo might be the only slight flaw. Rudi Raschberger, who really isn’t a member, is the person to thank for this awesome guitar playing.
“Break the Ice” has meaty guitar and is a touch retro. “All I want to do is play guitar”, Mick O’Regan sings as the sweet harmonies result in overkill. This is what happens when a guitar riff is wasted with radio-friendly sounds and time-tested dance candy. Thankfully, the Wondermints have this down to a science and are in Brian Wilson’s inner circle or back pocket. The Finkers give a good outlook on “Lights for Angela” with an opening the Georgia Satellites would have run rampant with, but once again the ‘60s airtight harmonies are thrown into the mix. “I always I wished that I could go to you and tell you I’ll be there when you come on home”, the Finkers sing with a deep amount of sincerity. The guitar solos work, but like hearing a Matthew Sweet B-side, the listener thinks of what might have been.
“Sweet November” is a ballad that is by far one of the best or second-best songs here. An Everly Brothers style is used throughout the number with harmonies to die for. If they ever decide to do an Unplugged episode, this would be the acoustic pinnacle of that show. An organ best left in a church is added over the middle section, sinfully diminishing the flow and detracting from the overall effect. The lyrics are average and cliched, especially “If you love me let me go / I don’t know if I can take it”. The Ramones influence can be seen on the gorgeous Radio Birdman-esque “Night Time Fun.” Opting to up the ante, the noise and intensity, the Finkers resemble a bit of the Clash, a pinch of Manic Street Preachers, and a ton of other punk bands that (like Cyndi Lauper) just want to have fun. Unfortunately, the fun ends too quickly, which might be part of its attractiveness on multiple listens.
The Finkers seem to have a ton of talent at their disposal. The concluding “Cryin’ Out” brings to mind the Rembrandts (who I prefer to associate with “That’s Just the Way It Is Baby” as opposed to the theme from Friends) on a good day. Unfortunately, whether due to studio costs or a need for utter perfection, the six songs are all the listeners get here. The 14 minutes come and go far too quickly. However, this collection would placate fans of power pop on most continents.
// Notes from the Road
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