Album Review – First by The Finalists (2020) (self released)

The Finalists are the sum of some very notable parts, that I copy and paste directly from the Bandcamp bio (see below), through fear that my advancing years may forget someone / something / my name even (the advancing years are not being kind !) and to try and make it look as though I am some all encompassing authority upon Aussie music, when in reality I only really know a couple of the listed acts well.
…the musical amalgamation of singer/guitarist and songwriter Mark Tobin (Scarlet, Panic Syndrome, The Black Halo), guitarist Robert Young (The Wednesday Night, Semi Lemon Kola), bassist Chris Familton (Charlie Horse, Thorazine Shuffle) and drummer Matt Brown (Charlie Horse)
What I do actually know is that their sound appeals to me on a couple of definitive levels. Initially, it is all very ‘Aussie cool’ with Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone), the superlative stand out Ten Seconds and Harder Than You Think splicing slight melancolia, with that perfect antipodean sense of casual disinterest. Imagine the recent sound of the Josh Meadows and Nick Batterham union in The Bell Streets and just that little bit extra Triple J jangled intent and energy and you are just about in the right ballpark.
It”s not all so perfectly laconic though. Tracks such as Hunting Knife, Learn to Live Without You and Misery take a Teenage Fanclub foundation and move it towards subtle psyche inflections within the guitar work. This aesthetic reminds me of the way in which the recent The Telephone Numbers sound flirts with power-pop, whilst being grounded by jangle.
For fans of traditional Triple J, Flying Nun and all things antipodean jangly, this debut album ignites the hope and possibility of so much more to come.




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