This is the third album in which Fink, aka Fin Greenall, continues the exploration of a burgeoning songwriting craft, and it confirms what the first two albums had already implied – that he’s taken to it like a duck to water.
Some big names are starting to sit up and take note. As a result the road Estelle and latterly Mr Hudson have been travelling is now open to Greenall, as no less a name than John Legend has been following his progress – enough to add his contribution to the album in the form of a Thomas Newman-style piano for Move On Me.
Once again Greenall walks the delicate tightrope between telling a genuine story and avoiding over the top schmaltz. Again he succeeds, with the help of relatively sparse textures that allow him to do his storytelling in a series of confidential asides.
The subtle electronic dressings work extremely well once again, though this time there is a perceptible shift in the direction of dub, influenced no doubt by Greenall’s work on his Sideshow alter ego. That has emphatically moved in to dub house territory with extremely impressive results, and the concessions here can be found in the fulsome bass line of the title track, and the atmospherics adorning Nothing Is Ever Finished.
His use of the piano is also carefully rationed, bringing urgency rather than smothering the textures in songs like See It All, where he sings evocatively of the “bright lights in New York”. He still knows when to strip things back, too, as he does when creating a vocal riff for the entrancing Q&A, which should work extremely well live. And on Maker, he hits the nail on the head. “All this time we spend talking shit, baby it’s all about making it.”
It’s lines like this that bring an occasional sense of menace to the record. If I Had A Million could almost be promising retribution. “When it comes to payback, I’m gonna pay you back babe, cos I ain’t scared of a little manual labour,” Greenall sings, and it’s only the relatively comfortable guitar strums behind that assure us otherwise.”
Listening on headphones or in a quiet, darkened room on a summer night is the best way to approach this record album. It’s the finest of Fink’s songwriting albums to date, building on the promise shown in Biscuits For Breakfast with a confident assurance of his talent and in what he has to say. In doing that he provides valuable headspace for anyone caught up in a busy life, urging them to take time out. It’s time very well spent.