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Thursday, August 02, 2007
  Fionn Regan - The End Of History

i chose this pic because it's what his music sounds like. believe me.

there are artists and lead singers whose lyrics mean more to them than the music they overlap. recently i can think of Voxtrot as being so guilty -- i can also site the vast majority of popular emo bands, perhaps occasionally the almost-infallible matt pond, and Jason Mraz as fellow contenders in this "wordplay." i think an important balance has to be struck between the message and the artwork behind it -- both in terms of the language and, hello, the notes and chords it takes to get there. oh, balance! oh, picky ears! and then, the plight of the outgoing lyricist: will we forgive John Roderick his humor in order to get to his depth, or Conor Oberst his pain in order to get to his quiet serenities? will we let ourselves dig into the bottomless lines Jeff Tweedy laughs in our direction? and then do we, as patient listeners, have to decide between those words and their sound?

so i ruminate after my twentieth listen of Fionn Regan. his work appeared on the scene while i was still disappeared (grammar intentional) -- and so, new to my ears, i have taken a different approach to dissecting what i've heard. regarding the above i can tell you that, at first listen, i am (nearly) always a sound person. yes! i have made that personal distinction, i have decided between those words and their sound. notice you will never read my dissection of "what the lyrics say." notice i usually don't care. notice i usually speak figuratively about sound, the mood it puts me in, the times and places it reminds me of, the pictures it conjures and the inspiration i gather. it's only after many listens -- it's only when i find a record with intense staying power -- that i begin to grab onto the lyrics and say, i can hear what this song is telling me. funny, coming from someone whose whole business is words. or is that to save me from my own high expectations? hmmmm.

but Fionn saves himself, as far as i'm concerned, from walking the fine line between the lane and the gutter with a style that highlights both sound and lyrics. he manages to have his words be heard immediately (no chance for this Sound Girl to ignore Lyrics Boy) but nothing is compromised, nothing is lost. the poor Irishman has the name "Conor Oberst" graffitied all over him before you even get to listen to his record -- and sure, he sounds a little like Bright Eyes, but i have to tell you that i like him more. (gasp.) i think he has enough of Sondre Lerche ("Penny") in him, enough Teitur ("Abacus," "Noah"), enough stuff for me to say -- well! let me just hear that one more time. and i have. and i will.

what this brings up, of course, is still the quality of sound. he is instantly atmospheric in a way that Iron and Wine can be. it's not just that pensive plucking of the guitar, but also a confidence in his pace, an innate sense of himself and his style. he also lacks the desperation that i get when listening to his ever-present Oberst comparison (trust me, or i wouldn't have been able to listen to him the other nineteen times). the fluidity of his voice, the sweet darkness, the slight croon: all of these things say, Oh, I know myself enough to sing. and i say, Oh, sing it just a little more.

::::the net has been all over "the Irish Bright Eyes," so i don't pretend to be the first, but i like his shit a lot.
Fionn Regan - Be Good Or Be Gone - available everywhere, but i want to make it available here just in case you haven't been sold yet -- because this will undoubtedly do the job.
Fionn Regan - The Underwood Typewriter - listen to this with headphones.
Bonus (we're fresh back, might as well give you the most)
Fionn Regan - The End Of History - it is, after all, the title track. stick with this one, again with the headphones, and i promise you'll hear... more.

looking for more? i know you are. that's why you've still got the hype (oh, it feels good to be back!) and Fionn's brave myspace (listening post) where you can explore what it means to be Fionn. remember! i am the Album Girl! and that means you best buy the whole thing if you like the small taste of what you get. and though i'm not happy to do so, it's easiest (as usual) to point you in the direction of itunes for the quick fix.
This guy is brilliant. Album of the year 2006 in my opinion. Fortunate enough to catch a quick set at SXSW back in March and I was captivated. One year later, this CD still never leaves my car.
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