Friday, December 04, 2015

EP Review :: The Fin. - Night Time

The Fin.

Night Time

December 4 2015 (Lost In The Manor Records)


Words: Dave Beech

Like many people, I often find myself fetishising Japan. There's something enigmatic and exotic about the country, its rich culture, sprawling metropolises and vast wilderness. It's a particularly Westernised way of looking, however, and arguably the reason I was first drawn to The Fin. in the first place - after all, Japan and dream-pop, what's not to love?

Interestingly enough, 'Night Time' isn't a record awash in Japanese culture in the way that Grimm Grimm's 'Hazy Eyes Maybe' was. In fact, as a record it's steeped in Western influence; the hazy textures of 'Curtains' are almost Scandinavian in their approach, whilst the EP's lyrics, delivered in English, address themes of uncertainness appreciated universally.

That said, while there's little in the way to give away the band's Japanese heritage, 'Night Time' is still a dazzlingly pretty record. Falling somewhere in between Beach House, The Shins and Gold Celeste, it's melodious without being twee, and dream-poppy without being otherworldly. It does, however, manage to retain a sense of the ethereal thanks to synth player Yuto Uchino, whose vocals float effortlessly on the record's warm haze.

Arguably the centre-point, title track 'Night Time' is built around a marriage of synth and brass, and sees Uchino musing on hopes, fears and memories. Brought about through his lonely walks home after missing the last train, it's introspective rather than downtrodden, and though it feels chilly in the sparser sections, the warm swells of brass are more than enough to make the track the most uplifting on offer.

Incidentally, even the video for 'Night Time' feels completely Westernised. Switching between images of the band playing at a petrol station and a disused swimming pool, and them driving along an empty stretch of road, there's a distinctly American feel about the whole thing. And though the video suits the track perfectly, it's further evidence of the band's appreciation of Western aesthetics, and the insidious touch of its influence.

Though these tracks have been available on 'Days of Certainty' for the last year, it's the first time they've been made available in the UK, and even though in a more condensed form than the original LP, it is a perfect introduction to The Fin., and one which will undoubtedly draw people to their earlier material also.

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