Matt Finucane delivers a swift follow-up to the ‘Disquiet’ EP which landed at the end of last year with a full-length album consisting of completely new material. This in itself is admirable, as it’s not uncommon for artists – following old label practise – to eke material out as far as possible.
I described ‘Disquiet’ as ‘a low-budget mixed bag’, and praised Matt for his work’s honesty, sincerity, and the fact he’s got some decent tunes.
‘Vanishing Island’ delivers more of the same: opener ‘War on Pain’ starts out with a Bowiesque verse delivery before veering into a driving ramshackle racket resembling The Fall circa ‘Touch Sensitive’. Incongruous, unexpected, it’s a stroke of genius, and it’s by no means isolated.
Clattering drum machines pin down motoric rhythms which underpin wandering, fuzzy guitars and strolling basslines, and amongst it all, there are some tidy hooks and imaginatively-crafted moments of atmosphere and even pangs of emotional depth.
Yes, it mostly does sound like The Fall in their more accessible moments, with Finucane’s flat, nasaly delivery resembling Smith’s more melodic deliveries, but much of the appeal lies in Matt’s knack for incidentals – weird reverbs, unexpected yelps, basslines that suddenly deviate by a couple of notes.
Finucane’s vocals often invite comparison Mark Eitzel over the course of ‘Vanishing Island’ – in particular in ‘Son’, the Toiling Midgets album he fronted in the early 90s. for those who can handle their references obscure.
Bottom line: it’s a decent album that espouses the spirit of DIY without sounding cack.