This is a review of "The Whistleblower EP" recorded by Finka. The review was written by Tim Hann in 2004.
If there was any evidence needed that unsigned local music is thriving in the UK then here’s another example. Finka are a four-piece outfit hailing ¼ from Leeds and the rest from Manchester and they’ve been steadily chipping away at audiences in Leeds venues all year. This 3 track CD, curiously entitled the Whistleblower EP, very nicely sums up what the band is all about: no tricks or gimmicks, just great tunes and delivery. I still can’t work out the significance of the title though. Anyway...
Opener “45” is Finka at their most dynamic, starting with a rolling bass line and vocalist Jimmy Frith singing “I wanna know is this it?” which leads the band to really kick into action. The band delivers the roller coaster dynamics with Frith left to set the tone. Three chords these days are very often a bad sign but Finka get away with it rather comfortably without sounding retro or like a “I wannabe trendy” outfit.
Second track “The Frightening” is a stronger song and the best on the CD. Sounding like Elbow if they were not so obsessed with being unusual and actually wrote some tunes, the band approach a.n.t.h.e.m. territory. The image of hoards of people heads back, eyes closed, lighters in the air (if that’s your thing), singing along with every chorus line of “My love/My soul/Take care” shouldn’t be far from reality. It’s both equally dramatic and romantic stuff, very English and is fantastic. It’s perhaps what Morrissey would have penned if he had ever got himself a girlfriend, or boyfriend for that matter.
The final track “Stuck” is a live recording, complete with crowd whooping, and it sits along with the studio tracks very well, which due mostly to poor recording quality is a rarity with unsigned bands. It has the feel of a set or (possible future) album closer with a drawn out, but not over done, jam. I get the feeling that this song is included in this format to prove to the listener that the band can also play live, and it does work, proving the band to be a formidable (if only on record) live unit. Singer Frith is once again the focal point but guitarist Adam Coy also comes more to the fore in the closing stages of the song, which possibly could be something that should happen more in future material.
Closing with the lines “This is the last/The party’s in here” it is a perfect way to lyrically finish any record. Let’s just hope there’s some more in the pipeline for 2005.