Fink – Beauty In Your Wake

A beautiful return from the songwriter...

Fink’s unlikely solo ascension is a triumph of beauty over the mundanity so often churned out by the algorithm. Now working in a totally self-sustaining independent manner, the English-born songwriter recalls everyone from Nick Drake to Neil Young in his work, while remaining steadfastly true to his instincts. New album ‘Beauty In Your Wake’ is perfect both for long-time fans and newcomers, enshrining much of his core values while also grappling with fresh ideas.

The slinky ‘What Would You Call Yourself’ emerges from the gloom, its afterhours appeal recalling 2007 breakout moment ‘Distance And Time’. There’s a sense of refinement, though, as if Fink has spent time tightening the bolts and screws.

The lithe chord shapes on ‘The Only Thing That Matters’ underpin a tender, half-spoken vocal, but Fink twists towards the dark on ‘Be Forever Like A Curse’. A record with a rich emotional palette, he seems to long for spaces of nuance and overlap – the subtlety of ‘I Don’t See You As The Others Do’ refuses to be pinned down.

The arrangements are spartan but suggestive, with Fink unafraid to add new elements. Carrying the feel of live performances, the sliding Danny Thompson-esque bass ‘One Last Gift’ takes the song to another plain, propelled by his timeless voice.

Indeed, it’s actually a positive sign that ‘Beauty In Your Wake’ slides so effortlessly into his catalogue, whether that’s overhauling his debut or 2014’s much-loved ‘Hard Believer’. ‘Don’t Forget To Leave’ is pitch-perfect, while the solemn ache of ‘So We Find Ourselves In Love’ prevents the song falling into the mawkish.

It takes the curious closer ‘When I Turn This Corner’ (with its martial drums) to disrupt the palette, and this fall to darkness is an odd ending given much of the record’s bucolic feel. In a way, however, it causes you to immediately rewind, and hit ‘play’ once more, viewing the songwriting in a different light. A work of measure, ‘Beauty In Your Wake’ is another pearl from a hugely gifted artist.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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