photo manipulation by nacrowe
years ago i was in and out of the orbit of my cousin's former BROOKLYN recording studio called [the end] since i was living and working overseas. during that period i was made aware of various experimental INDIE ROCK artists that recorded there including UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, YEASAYER and NEW ZEALAND singer-songwriter LIAM FINN.
i was not around when these artists were recording and heard there music out of context in disparate places like VENEZUELA, JAPAN, ALBANIA and MYANMAR. so when i first heard his THE NIHILIST (YEP ROC, 2014) album i was initially taken by the cinematic scale of its sonic textures and addictive catchiness of his melodies. as a listening experience it worked especially well in foreign territories where i felt like an outsider by definition. this can be seen in songs like "HELENA BONHAM CARTER," "SNUG AS FUCK" and "BURN UP THE ROAD" off of THE NIHILIST where there is a palpable world-weariness and deep antipathy for the hollow and facile nature of the entertainment industry. i can only imagine how jarring and disorientating being a musician can be, with the self-reflection and soul-searching involved before presenting a public face. and he would know about that struggle for an identity. it is obligatory at this point to mention that his father is NEIL FINN of CROWDED HOUSE fame, which is relevant in that it provides another layer to his songwriting as that family connection provides a sense of preordained identity that provides some creative friction. not that dissimilar to other gifted progeny of famous musicians like SEAN LENNON, NATALIE COLE, ARLO GUTHRIE, NORAH JONES or RUFUS WAINWRIGHT. its an interesting dynamic.
i've long held that this FINN is a criminally underrated songwriter and recommend his discography wholeheartedly to anyone interested in thoughtful, sophisticated ROCK music with a cinematic flair for big memorable sonic moments. definitely worth checking out.