Saturday, May 21, 2016

Album Review :: The fin. - Through The Deep

The fin.

Through The Deep

June 3 2016 (Lost In The Manor)


Words: Dave Beech

That Japanese dream-poppers The fin. “just want to be seen as borderless” is no coincidence. First drawn to the band by incorrect assumptions of an Eastern mystique woven in to their compositions, it was for reasons the exact opposite that I fell in love. Much like myself being first attracted on promises of Eastern exotica, The fin. themselves create a Europhile hybrid of electro-pop and shoegaze – influenced heavily by both the genre's heavyweights, and the western culture they came from.

Such an inherent need to leave behind their heritage could stem from geographic location, and that The fin. should come from the port city of Kobe is no small coincidence either. Living in such close proximity to the ocean leaves a lasting impression, and 'Through the Deep', the band's second EP to make it to our shores, is rife with oceanic references that reach much deeper than just the song titles alone.

Opening track 'White Breath' quickly builds to a mesmeric ebb and flow, driven by a pronounced bass, and eventually joined by the subaquatic synth sounds that give the impression of quite literally descending “through the deep”. Aesthetically, this is something carried over in to following cut 'Divers'. Swimmy arpeggios decorate an otherwise reserved composition, before falling away, replaced by trance-y synths and deep-cut bass grooves. These thematic references have allowed The fin. to mine a richer vein of psychedelia than was found on previous EP 'Night Time', something brought about thanks to a much greater emphasis on electronics.

With guitars taking a back seat, Yuto Uchino's heady synthscapes are allowed to flourish, something which in turn aids the creation of the record's subaqueous aesthetic. Closing number 'Anchorless Ship' is a perfect example. Understated to the point of minimalism, a metronomic pulse provides backbone while mirroring the ping of a radar. It isn't until the half way point that the pace is gathered and the song itself fleshed out.

While 'Night Time' felt steeped in western influence, ranging at times to full blown americana, 'Through the Deep' does indeed seem to defy the borders that The fin. are keen to avoid. Much more understated than its predecessor, though no less special the band's roots may lie in Japan, but it seems their hearts really belong to international waters.

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