Sydney supergroup The Finalists have just released their debut album ‘First’ and it is a delight. Nine tracks that feature the most jangling and sparkling of guitars – six strings, twelve strings, acoustic and electric – that form a superb bedrock for a collection of deeply personal songs that are heartfelt and passionate, raw and emotional, touched with humour and self reflection.
Individually, the members of The Finalists have previous form – the band consists 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).
Collectively, they have created a warm and enveloping sound that is distinguished by Tobin’s raw emotive vocals and the synergy and cohesion between the instruments – brought in to sharp relief by the instrumental ‘Cool Keith’ where the guitars just bubble with brightness and melody.
Here at Backseat Mafia we were honoured to premiere the debut single and opening track ‘Ignore All The Hate On Your Telephone‘, describing it as being infused with melody and a positive force.
Follow up single ‘Learn to Live Without You‘ was brim full of Byrdsian goodness with its jingle-jangle sparkle: a shimmering and sparkling track imbued with a melancholic air.
The band has drawn upon influences that are delectable – from The Byrds to REM – and have created an approach that is discernibly unique and reflects a developing Sydney sound emanating from (mostly) older musicians with a strong musical history who are entering some sort of magnificent prime. Despite all the other crap, it’s been a marvellous year for music.
I’ve covered most of them – bands like The Wednesday Night, Buddy Glass, Golden Fang, Key Out, The Electorate, Even As We Speak, Jo Meares, Marveline, Warmer, Simon Robert Gibson – the list is exhaustive (search out my reviews for these and other bands).
‘First’ is out now through Half A Cow Records and you can get it through the link below: