By Jennifer Quinlin
Released March 25th, 2013 - Artisan Records
Every now and again a band comes along that makes you sit up and pay attention. Last October I was introduced to UK band, fiN, when they were a last minute fill-in support band for Muse at London's O2 Arena. Though not exactly novices on the tour circuit - including support slots for Incubus, Feeder, and The Kooks to name a few - it can't have been easy having to perform such a big show at very short notice (official support band The Joy Formidable had withdrawn earlier in the day owing to illness) and they won themselves a lot of new fans that night.
The four lads from Wandsworth, UK, have quickly become one of my favourite bands, due in no small part to the feeling that their music is incredibly honest. In the era of the dreaded "Autotune" and an increasing number of artists who wouldn't know the front of an instrument from the back, fiN is a breath of fresh air - all four members (Luke Joyce - vocals; Jonny Garner - guitar; Simon Harding - drums; and Kerry Lambert - bass) are skilled musicians in their own right and they appear to have found a fine balance as an ensemble.
Life Is Wasted On The Living is their first LP - recorded by the band themselves, under their own label,Artisan Records, and mixed by Adrian Bushby (Muse, Foo Fighters, Two Door Cinema Club) - and is a collection of their singles including "The Artisan", a predominantly instrumental track which opens the album;"Twenty Three", a stomping track with a pleasantly growly bass line, a message of optimism to Joyce's dad upon being made redundant; "Everybody Dies Alone", a track which puts you slightly on-guard with its discordant start before forming up into a soaring ballad; and title track "Life Is Wasted On The Living", a song about consumerism and the waste of living for material gain, is reminiscent of Biffy Clyro in its attack.
Mingled in with the singles are unreleased tracks and some bonus material. Standouts for me on the album are "Where Are You Now", a raw, intimate piano ballad that will surely resonate with anyone familiar with heartbreak; "The Truth Lies In Honesty", a song about rebuilding yourself after defeat that should have you breaking out into a healthy dose of chair-dancing instantly; and bonus track "5am", a stripped-back tune that had me picturing The Beatles with Kurt Cobain on lead vocals.
This album is extremely well balanced, and almost impossible to define in terms of genre. I can't decide if they are alternative, rock, pop, or just an incredibly clever spin on all of the above. Luke Joyce's vocals are eminently listenable whether he's belting them out or drawing you in on an intimate level, Jonny Garner's guitar work is smart and engaging without being overpowering, and the rhythm section of Kerry Lambertand Simon Harding is slick and solid.
fiN is on the edge of something special and I'm more than happy to stick around for the ride to see where it goes.
Check them out for yourselves - the LP is available as a digital only download on March 25th from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.
4 / 5