Fink [Album Review]


Back in 2012 Fink played a very very special one-off show. It was in Amsterdam, and they were accompanied by The (full) Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The product was an undiluted triumph – a perfect marriage between Fink’s subtle and melodic songwriting and the power of a full orchestra. The subsequent live album, entitled ‘Fink Meets The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’ will be available on 14th October 2013.

The performance was meticulously arranged by composer and orchestrator Jules Buckley; one of the most in-demand arrangers in Europe. With almost genius touch and moderation he was able to harness the force of the orchestra to provide heart-jittering swells, euphoric highs and moody drones. I’ve always held the belief that if the performers are enjoying themselves then that is half of the battle won in terms of the crowd enjoying themselves. Lead singer, Cornwall Born Fin Greenall, said that it was one of the great nights of his life. A listen through the album would suggest that this was the case. It is spectacular.

From the very first song, ‘Berlin Sunrise’, it is clear that this is not a just Fink set with a backing orchestra. Like a statement of intent, with the feel of the opening of an overture, the song is lifted up gradually with tugging strings and orchestral percussion. At just before a minute Greenall sings his first note, and from this point a very clear bond is established between the music and his voice. This aspect, after all, is the formally incongruous part. To have a pop singer leading a classical orchestra is unconventional. They have managed to strike a perfect balance between showing-off the orchestra and keeping the feel and structure of the songs. Suffice to say, the song is brilliantly performed, and the close is met with suitably rapturous applause.

‘Yesterday Was Hard On All Of Us’ follows, and has the feeling of the next scene of the film. This could be interpreted in bad way, as a sort of monotony, or even a cheapness. I don’t mean it like that. It has a theatrical element, which makes the performance absorbing and engaging. Next is ‘What Power Art Though’, a comparatively anonymous song without the melodic or instrumental intrigue of its predecessors. Then comes a six-minute instrumental section. It is called ‘The Infernal Machine’ and this is just what it sounds like. It is reminiscent of one of those contemporary classical pieces that most will disregard as “not really on my level”, and I have to confess that, for fear of casting myself amongst the heathens, it didn’t really do it for me either. Perhaps you just had to be there.

‘Perfect Darkness’ is the penultimate track, and one of the more up beat in the set. It is carried by a simple drumbeat and sits on a satisfying groove. It is also one of the more interesting orchestral compositions. Clever themes subtly dance in and out of the song, while all the time giving a dreamy undercurrent to the song. The song builds to a brilliantly loud finish before settling for a velvety comedown.

The set ends on ‘Sort Of Revolution’ – the blockbuster. It is a near-ten-minute celebration of the occasion, and the rendition is flawless. On its own it is a brilliant song but this version is on a different world. I genuinely got goose bumps at the finale.

There are some albums that you just want to have. This is one of them. It is a beautiful collection of epically well thought out songs that were performed on one night only. It is to everyone’s good fortune that they decided to capture the whole thing and release it as a record. I am a fan of the live album, and this is a real goodun. It is recorded and mixed phenomenally well, and the outcome is a gem. I suspect Fin Greenall will feel decidedly lonely stepping on stage in the future without that enormous organism supporting him.

For gods sake watch this video below to get an idea of the scale of it!