The Finn Brothers
Everyone Is Here
efore I put myself through the potentially stressful process of coming up with some stunningly original thoughts about a new album, I always like to see if I can simply steal them from someone else. Who says students never learn anything at university, eh? Trawling through the Super-Mecha-Information-Cabbage-Patch often yields promising results if you can avoid all the Smallville slash fiction, and a few minutes poking around with Google tends to reduce anything you care to choose into handy soundbite chunks that even people with curiously slender throats wouldn’t choke on. Or, in the case of this latest offering from the Finn brothers, into just one word: mature.
Quite what that might actually mean is something of a mystery. I can’t really picture past classics like “Don’t Dream It’s Over” sticking notes on teacher’s back and giggling at fart jokes, any more than I can hear the tell-tale signs of settling down with a good job and some carpet slippers on this record. If, indeed, that’s your definition of “mature”. Much like the term “veteran” we all know it’s usually just a polite way of saying “old”. No one wants to admit to it, let alone be accused of it—far better to remain perpetually carefree and spontaneous. In most musical worlds, maturity suggests comfort. Maturity suggests bland. Maturity suggests crap records.
Everyone Is Here isn’t a crap record. In a petulant act of theory-scuppering though, it does manage to sound quite comfortable. The pleasing kind of comfort. Like having a lovely thick mug of hot chocolate in the twilight hour before the clocks get turned back. Mmm.
“A Life Between Us” is a current indulgence. It’s got one of those harmonious choruses that surges upwards and over while you abandon all pretensions of hip in a frenzied scramble for a lighter to wave. Even if that involves a trip to the shops. Hurry back though, or you’ll miss the moving tribute to Stylus’ very own On Second Thought column sneakily meshed into the trash-and-treasure motif of “Edible Flowers”, with added strings! In a wider world sense, the addictive “no flies on this guy!” message of “Nothing Wrong With You” will serve wonderfully as a future campaign song for any Teflon politicians trying to buy votes with twisted rhetoric. Bit of an interpretative stretch there; but that’s politics for you.
Alas, it’s not all sunshine and kittens. Semi-filler “Anything Can Happen” and “All The Colours” have an air of a little too much comfort about them; a churned-out-because-we-can kind of feel. Which makes understated closer “Gentle Hum” all the more relieving. Simplistic piano melody. Soft vocal affection. Another album wound down and tucked up in bed.
In other words, nothing has really changed at all. The brothers Finn haven’t somehow matured into this state from caterpillar beginnings—they’ve been doing it for years. Let’s just stop pretending, selotape that sizeable Crowded House tag we’ve spent all afternoon making over the dreary lakeside cover and bask with the inner glow of several generous helpings of winter soup.
There now, doesn’t that feel better?
Reviewed by: Peter Parrish
Reviewed on: 2004-09-22