I first came across San Francisco-based Finest Dearest in 2005 when a music blog shared a few songs from their Pacemaker EP, and I was immediately charmed. The songs, "Sleep Until The Weekend" and "Idaho," have sarcastic and skeptical lyrics coming out of a sweet and swooning voice. The band, I noticed, has an indie-pop snarl that's hard to pull off and rare to find. I've had the band on my radar and anxiously awaited the release of their full-length album since first being exposed to their music. Over two years later, my wait is over. The band has its self-titled album coming out on Bloodtown Records and (thankfully) it has the same caustic charm as the EP.
There's something about Finest Dearest's music that reminds me of everything good about '90s music. Perhaps it's because the band was growing up in the '90s and they managed to take what was good about music during this decade and incorporate it into their songs. Two guitars, bass, drums, and the occasional use of strings or hand claps are used on the album, but all of the songs are lyrically driven by Carly Schneider's swooning voice. The band proclaims they are a "dark indie-pop band," and this is an apt description. The music is happy but the song content is dark. "Making A Sound 1" (the first song in a seamless trilogy) is about a person looking for something that makes them feel alive and has tell-off lyrics: "This is all you get / A good work ethic / And nine whole hours," "If you want to know why you're all alone / I can give you one good reason / Could it be that you don't know how to do / Anything on your own." The majority of Finest Dearest's songs are about calling people out on their bullshit. Instead of coming across as that tired "angry, young, female" stereotype our society overuses, Carly manages to come across as a cool, jaded, scenester with an incredible voice.
While most of the songs rely on guitar, drums, and bass, the band strays from this foundation at times. "Your Hometown" employs handclaps and it's more experimental with percussion while also featuring horns. The song is breezy and while the indie-pop cheers the listener up Carly is busy telling someone "I'm not gonna go down to your hometown / I don't want to hold your hand / I just want to understand you."
My only complaint about the album is the stop on "Naming Ceremony." I thought I had accidentally lowered the volume, but it was the band turning all of the instruments down before picking back up. Even after listening to the songs five times, I still wasn't feeling this change. A better use of changes is found on their song "Serious" where they build it up and then strip it down wonderfully at the end.
Finest Dearest is releasing their album in April and touring in support of it in April and May.
MP3 Download - "Your Hometown"