sun 25/06/2017

CD: Fink - Fink's Sunday Night Blues Club Vol 1 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Fink - Fink's Sunday Night Blues Club Vol 1

CD: Fink - Fink's Sunday Night Blues Club Vol 1

Woozy, evocative but ultimately rather empty tilt at the blues

The aesthetic is more movie soundtrack than original album
Fin Greenall: a Cornishman sings the blues

Fin Greenall’s career is developing as a reverse mirror image of musical history. Originally a DJ and electronic music pioneer working on the edge of contemporary performance, for the past decade he has been on a journey into the acoustic and American past. His last release, 2014’s Hard Believer, had tinges of blues alongside some resonant Americana. Sunday Night Blues Club is billed as the real thing – his first “purely blues” album – but is it?

Like Hard Believer, this contains some very evocative soundscapes, executed with seeming authenticity and style. Obviously, the argument about electronic equipment in blues was over many decades ago, but it’s worth noting, for something with a pure blues tag, that there’s a lot of reverb and effects here, to produce a grimy, resonant sound that has touches of ambient mood-filling to it. There’s some good instrumental work too: “Boneyard” has some great slide guitar and “Hour Golden” some atmospheric harmonica, though they can’t help feel, to some extent, like scene-painting by numbers.  

Lyrically, there isn’t much to follow. Vocal lines are generally distorted and consist of repeated choruses that don’t tell much of a story. Many of the songs ooze atmosphere, but that atmosphere is all a bit hazy. The aesthetic is more movie soundtrack than original album, and without a cinematic narrative to fill in the blanks, it’s a rather empty experience. The “Vol 1” in the title suggests there’s more of this to come, but if there is, it should have been used to bolster this release.    

Without a personal or political story behind it, though, it’s hard to see the point. His tour schedule is aimed principally at a northern European audience, where there’s (paradoxically?) a big appetite among the educated white population to hear the blues. The world is not short of re-makes of the blues, however, and when they’re from middle-class Englishmen they need a special reason to make an impact. This is short, it doesn’t say much, and while it does what it does with some panache, it’s hard to see why what it does was actually worth doing.

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