Filled with deep masterful lyrics and robust intensity orchestrated to bring you on a roller coaster of emotions, Fink deploys their trademark sound remarkably well in their latest showing, Hard Believer. Led by frontman Fin Greenall, the album houses ten tracks and introduces each as a piece of art both intricately crafted and immensely personal at the same time.
Hard Believer largely resorts to the same formula that propagated Fink to the realms of success with songs such as the 2007 hit “This Is The Thing”, but is also evident of an added edge and definition to their unique acoustic-driven post-rock sound which promises not to leave fans disappointed. The single “Looking Too Closely” is most representative of this and is also arguably the strongest track out of the ten. Permeated with dark undertones and an impeccable display of instrumental layering, the band hammers it out in a style that is sure to come alive in their live performances as well.
Tracks such as “White Flag” and “Too Late” are the ones which truly reward drummer Tim Thornton and bassist Guy Whittaker with their place to shine, as we see the two musicians showcasing their chops on a journey of breathtaking intensities. As the band cruises through the tracks, we see fine balances on display, with minimal vocals paving the way for powerful instrumental build-ups, and in turn, sparse musical arrangements serving as subtle embellishments for the deep, writhing melodies of Greenall.
What you’ll notice after your first listen of Hard Believer will probably be the significant number of musical interludes found throughout the album, which not only boasts the band’s capabilities but is also a tasteful characteristic heard in various songs like “Pilgrim” and “Green And The Blue”. The two-minute outro found in the latter is especially of note, as it is reminiscent of the musicality which Coldplay has become known for (think the shimmering textures of Ghost Stories). The flourishing of guitar fills and swells while mixing with the atmospheric vibe of angelic voices in the background create a perfect display of versatility. As the songs seamlessly move from one to the next, Fink encompasses a form of assurance that was lacking in their previous effort Perfect Darkness, seen with an added amount of patience and maturity to develop songs, allowing space for the music to breathe and fully manifest on the listener.
Perhaps one of Fink’s greatest strengths over the years is the songwriting ability of Greenall, having co-written with heavyweights such as Amy Winehouse and John Legend, and I’m glad to say that Hard Believer certainly lives up to that expectation. “Shakespeare” pays true testimony to this as we hear him tell of a naïve sense of love that has grown bitter. Lyrics such as “Oh Romeo, oh Romeo / He thinks it’s a love thing” leading up to “You taught me so much about love / And yet I learnt nothing” all highlight the raw emotions emanating from the impending bitterness as he raises reference to the Shakespearean ideal of love.
Similarly, “Two Days Later” sees Greenall on a personal soul-searching journey, expressing thoughts of self-realization and regret as he sings “Now we know who we are / Where we stand and where we fall”. Needless to say, the accompanying music is one that perfectly complements its lyrical themes, holding a somber mood and driven by a simple bass riff that never demands too much attention from his words.
All in all, Fink manages to retain their roots while simultaneously seeking to be more ambitious in their musical endeavors, pushing boundaries along the way. With raw blood and sweat bleeding through the intensity of the songs, I have to say that it was definitely worth it for the band. Hard Believer is simply one of those records that will leave you wanting more.