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Sort of Revolution

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Album Review

On Sort of Revolution, Fin Greenall (aka Fink), cements his reputation as an acoustic based singer/songwriter using his elemental DJ skills to accentuate his compositions. Bassist Guy Whittaker and drummer Tim Thornton are true musical accompli in this meld of acoustic guitars, handmade (sometimes literally) beats, dub-wise basslines, and skeletally used snares, hi-hats, and brushed cymbals. Fink writes songs whose lyrics are decidedly simple and resemble actual speech more than they do poetry. He embellishes them quietly, musically; they are always unassuming, but he somehow manages to get them inside the listener's head where they stay and gain not only real estate, but a kind of quiet power. The title track that opens the set employs some digital dub effects in the last third of the tune, with rhythm tracks echoing from channel to channel, stuttering piano, and guitar deep in the rhythm, but Fink's vocal remains untouched and clear as a (softly rung) bell. "Move on Me," one of the most beautiful tracks on Sort of Revolution is a haunted love song. Fink's vocals are layered in choral patterns on the refrain, the bass is the lead instrument, followed closely by the middle strings on the acoustic guitar and some sampled cello, and there's an utterly ethereal piano track played by none other than John Legend. These two tracks are relatively high-production numbers, whereas "Six Weeks" is rooted firmly in acoustic blues; it's extremely minimal with only guitar and some layered vocals walking it through, and is accompanied by a sparse bassline. The same goes for the striking hymn to generosity "If I Had a Million." "See It All" utilizes a piano sample from Flashbulb's "Kirlian Selections" (and they got it from Terry Riley in the first place) along with his hand percussion as both an intro and a bottom-end map for the track. His guitar is tossed in seemingly at random as an effect rather than as accompaniment.

What it all boils down to is what Fink was looking for in the beginning, a way of telling a story plainly and intimately without overt romanticism or overuse of flowery metaphors. His limited dynamic range creates an intense, almost suffocating feeling of intimacy, and is, therefore, in its way, dramatic. The beautiful fingerpopping percussion that introduces "Q&A" combines a street-corner doo wop feel with dub reggae, gospel quartet, and even hip-hop. The story leaves out more than it reveals lyrically, but the dubby echoes, percussion, and the taut phrasing in his vocal show the listener what the track is about without having to tell it. Ultimately, Sort of Revolution is another step forward for Fink. Over the course of his Ninja Tune albums he's become an accomplished and original songwriter with only one comparable peer (Los Angeles' Damon Aaron who also began as a DJ). He understands that less is always more, and that tenderness, real life tension, and intimacy are often related more directly by impression than overt gestures.


Formed: 1995 in Bristol, Avon, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Fink is the recording moniker of Fin Greenall, who started out as a DJ/producer before progressing to making guitar-based folk/blues/indie music. Originally from Bristol, England, Greenall made his first steps in music by recording an album with Lee Jones (aka Hefner) that was eventually released under the name EVA by Kickin' Records in 1995. Billing himself as Fink, Greenall released a pair of EPs, 1997's Finkfunk and 1998's Front Side Blunt Side, on Ninja Tune's Ntone imprint before the arrival...
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