“Days with Uncertainty,” the debut LP from Japanese alt-rockers The fin. packs enough charm, emotion, and taste to satisfy any current fan of shoegaze or synth-pop.
Yet, it calls back to the 80s’ enough that fans of old school Post-Punk, New Wave, and New Romo will find themselves led down a familiar seeming path by these pied pipers.
If one’s feet are planted too heavily in the past, it can be easy to fall into the trap of becoming nothing more than a retro-flavored gimmick. Or even worse, a cover band!
However, for music to evolve, one must keep moving forward, while keeping an eye on the past.
Enter: The fin. (The lower case “f” and summary period are the actual stylization of the name.)
As part of the South by Southwest music festival held annually in Austin, Texas, “Japan Nite” typically brings between 3-6 bands from Japan to America for a couple of weeks. Not only to play the SXSW festival, but to tour a handful of U.S. markets, while they are already here.
This year, the big surprise was The fin.
Comprised of members Yuto Uchino, Ryosuke Odagaki, Takayasu Taguchi and Kaoru Nakazawa, The fin. are a four-piece band from Kobe, Japan. Information on the band is limited due to their relative lack of publicity in America, compounded by my lack of ability to read or speak Japanese.
This language barrier has done little to nullify the enjoyment that their debut album provides. “Days with Uncertainty” is 11 tracks of wonderfully melancholy, shoegaze-y, yet somehow up-tempo dream pop. Courtesy of four guys, who know exactly the type of emotions they are trying to dredge up out of their listeners.
That isn’t to say that “Days with Uncertainty” is a 40-minute funeral dirge of songs about boo-hoo and “woe is me.” To be fair, those sort of sentiments are expressed in a number of jams on this record.
However, that is the beauty of the international status of The fin. One of the things that always fascinates me about pop music from other countries, is the way that the ideas, sentiments, and thoughts that are expressed in the western records that influence bands from other sections of the globe, are sent back to us, only filtered through the unique worldviews of those in other places.
Instead of just the requisite emotional catharsis we might expect to gain from a record such as this, The fin. are so adept at their craft, that the music manages to ensnare the intellect, on its way to capturing the heart, instead of just bypassing it in typical emo style.
To add some balance, this is not a flawless record. However, if it does have a flaw, it is that the songs, after a bit, start to sound slightly analogous to one another. The fin. has a style? GTFO!
The fin. sort of does one thing. They just do it very well. And I for one, am eagerly looking forward to not just future albums from the Kobe quartet, but future live performances as well. Because just like every other band that is worth their salt, they do it well on record, but even better in person.
- a&e telescope logo: Telescope Staff/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved