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coverpic flag New Zealand - Full Moon 217 - 05/14/14

Liam Finn
The Nihilist
Yep Roc Records

I have been a fan of Liam Finn for some years, since I first heard his 2007 debut album, I'll Be Lightning. This winter, a few months ago his 'old man', father Neil Finn showed his pop skills. Now it is junior's turn. Like father, like son. Who is the better side? Maybe this album's last track will show, as it's called "Wrestle With Dad"...

The Nihilist holds 12 tracks and it stretch out close to an hour in length. The opening "Ocean Emmanuelle" is a delicate pop song and a fine starter - being sort of Crowded House-like in style. With "Snug As Fuck" Finn drift into soul-territory, while "Helena Bonham Carter" is neat, bouncy pop track. "Burn Up The Road" shows Liam Finn's more energetic side, being a catchy and on-fire piece of work. Then there are some songs on The Nihilist being more of the rhythmic kind, with heated rhythms and outlined percussive patterns, such as the title track, "4 Track Stomper", "Wild Animal", and "Arrow". Maybe too much rhythm, if you are asking me. The single "I", released over a year ago, is/was this rather pale track, with its loose drumbeat. I could not really figure it out then, and I cannot sort it out now either.

New Zealander Finn's third full-length album is quite clearly a sophisticated one. It is playful and innovative piece of work, but I don't necessary go with its pop flow. "There's quite a groovy, irreverent swagger to it," Liam says of the record, "but there's always this slight element of unhinged tension." I'll agree with both the 'swagger' and the 'unhinged tension', as there are many examples on this, but I'm not all too comfortable with the album as a whole. There are quite some fine tracks of course, such as the 'dark horse' "Dreary Droop", "Miracle Glance", as well as the fine "Ocean Emmanuelle". Yet, I think I'll dig out I'll Be Lightning once more over this one.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Liam Finn articles/reviews: FOMO, I'll Be Lightning, I.

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