Album Review: Fink – Resurgam (R’Coup’d)

The second coming

Fin ‘Fink’ Greenall is not your religious type but he took the name of this album from an inscription in a church near his childhood home in Cornwall, it means ‘I shall rise again’. It’s something Greenall has been doing in a musical sense since Fresh Produce, his first release on NinjaTune in 2000. That turned out to be atypical of his output however, the samples and turntables were ditched for the excellent follow up Biscuits for Breakfast where acoustic guitar and voice combined to make him a singer songwriter in the urban British mould. Now Greenall spends an awful lot of time touring Europe, both east and west, from his base in Berlin, which seems to be the place to be once more.

He no longer works alone but alongside drummer and guitarist Tim Thornton and bass player Guy Whittaker and these instruments alongside Greenall’s guitar make most of the sound on Resurgam. This project was recorded with Flood, producer of PJ Harvey, Foals and U2 among others in the latter’s Assault & Battery studio in Willesden (undoubtedly the new Shoreditch). They got a great sound there, lush, dark and very expansive if a little short on daylight. This is a night time record if ever there was, but Fink have always been that way inclined, the moods remain in the same vein as has been the case on the majority of their releases, what’s changed is the sound. The instrumentation has been filled out with Flood’s armoury of analogue synths which combine with distinct drum and bass lines that give shape to the backing. One track pares things back though, Word to the Wise, finds Greenall in the sole company of a piano which makes a pleasant tonal change and keeps the album diverse.

The opener and title track sets the tone with a gorgeous rounded bass guitar line and artfully fashioned yet restrained kick drum alongside Fink’s baritone voice. It then proceeds to slowly build over the eight and a half minute duration to a noisy crescendo, a pattern that is found on a number of the 10 tracks gathered on Resurgam. On the follow up Day 22 the rhythm section gets a bit more funky in the context of a simple arrangement and full scale soundstage. The line up is expanded to include the shiny sound of vibes on Cracks Appear, and saxophone from Martin Slattery on This Isn’t a Mistake, but all the while you have the analogue bubblebath of electronica giving the background a density and shape that marks this out from Fink’s previous work. The only piece that brings that era to mind is Not Everything Was Better In The Past, which sees Greenall’s acoustic guitar reverbed up and manipulated to subtle effect while he sings about his retro habits and reflects on the benefits of the present. The other standout for my money is penultimate track Covering Your Tracks where the analogue synths are used to produce a Blade Runner style backdrop and a slow burn of a track that ends in distorted electric guitar adding drama to the pathos of the song. As with Fink’s back catalogue this isn’t glee club stuff, soul searching rarely is but there is a lot to enjoy and a great sound to enjoy it in.

Jason Kennedy

@EditorTheEar

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