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Fink Perfect Darkness Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

A slow-burning potential classic from the Brighton-based songwriter.

Ian Wade 2011

Fink is the showbiz pseudonym of singer songwriter Fin Greenall. Since 2000 he’s been operating as Ninja Tune’s one guitar-wielding troubadour in their catalogue, and has gone on to work with Nitin Sawhney, Lamb and Zero 7. And that’s not all: he had that John Legend fellow guest on his last album, has co-written material beside Amy Winehouse and Bonobo (among others), and most recently popped up on Professor Green’s Alive Till I’m Dead; he’s also helping out on the rapper’s next album. He also manages to squeeze in a spot of DJing as Sideshow, with several releases under that name as well. Phew.

On this his fourth album as Fink, Greenall is still operating in a mellow, chilled-out area with the air of an early-hours beach-bum wayfarer. But before you smash the glass marked ‘Jack Johnson for the camping-at-The-Big-Chill-in-a-yurt set’ alarm, know that Fink adds a bit of balls and soul to the recipe. Here, one can hear delicate echoes of Nick Drake as well as – if you squint a bit – traces of Sade and Finley Quaye.

The standout track is Yesterday Was Hard on All of Us, one of those songs which could take on a life of its own. In fact, the entire album has a timely quality to it, filled with tunes that carefully burrow into your head: the intensely bluesin’ Wheels winds on muscularly, and the moody Who Says has echoes of Radiohead at their most pleasingly noodlesome. The sinewy title-track winds along with dashes of Bill Withers warmth and phrasing. But louder cut Fear Is Like Fire shows this set isn’t fully comfortable in a world just marked ‘acoustic’, and closer Berlin Sunrise is also something of a treat.

Perfect Darkness is rather special. A writhing, surprisingly meaty addition to the over-crowded singer-songwriter genre, it has enough individuality as not to get brushed aside with the prefix ‘just another’. If it takes Fink five years to follow this up, that should be plenty of time for this to slow burn itself into a bit of a classic.

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