Finn – Everything Is Alright
For the past while, it seems like the phrase “house revival” has been on everyone’s lips at least once. And while there’s certainly evidence to suggest that the sound of 90’s Chicago is experiencing a resurgence (particularly in the mainstream), the truth is that it didn’t really go very far; it just fell out of style. Led by artists like Honey Dijon and Jayda G, there’s been a definite shift toward reclaiming the house away from its cousins deep, tech, and tropical (and their subsequent fratboy connotations) back to its queer underground roots. The wider renewed interest in this style of house is arguably more of an interest in its barebones simplicity (a four on the floor, a looped four chord riff, a gospel/R&B/spoken word refrain), a likely reaction against the buzzy and busy styles of (tech)house that have been more dominant in recent years. More and more emerging producers seem to be turning to the style, returning to the core elements of the form, as is the case with Finn. The Manchester producer’s latest album Everything Is Alright is a nine cut collection of nostalgic and classic piano house at its most essential.
Classic house has always been present in Finn’s music, but Everything Is Alright is the producer’s most back to basics entry to date. Whereas last year’s A Good Place mixed freely across piano house, deep house, and bass, the music on Everything Is Alright is as essential as it gets. All the usual players are present; Robin S. style organ synths, four on the floor piano riffs, powerhouse vocal riffs. A.Y.O.Y.O combines a Korg riff that recalls Gypsy Woman with a chopped R&B vocal that could likely be Gypsy Woman. I Don’t Know is Italo house shlock, with a perfect Italo piano riff and the ideal dose of campy nonsense. In essence, the album is a faithful and earnest tribute to house music’s brightest moments.
Though much of the album plays into the familiar, Everything Is Alright avoids lapsing into something trite. There’s a spark to Finn’s music that juggles a reverence for its references with the producer’s own imagination. It’s in moments like the cascading, skewed arpeggio on Ere U Are, or the ever so slight touches of UKG that appear on the title track to flavour an otherwise straightforward house loop. The euphoria of Things, Things, Things! veers on the edge of hardcore, a stylistic influence that’s embraced more ardently on Big Raver. At times, it feels as though these elements might tip off balance, particularly on the latter track, but Finn manages to keep his ideas succinct with a welcome sense of restraint. Never Leave constantly dares to descend into a throbbing four on the floor, but never does. Instead, Finn keeps us suspended, extending the moment just before the beat would typically drop, mining a strange sense of melancholia from the otherwise euphoric. It’s these choices that make Everything Is Alright both classic and ostensibly fresh, an album that can be appreciated by both Boomer house aficionados and Gen-Z newbies alike (a rare feat in itself).
Everything Is Alright is a neat exploration into the history of house, executed with a scholarly approach from Finn. Though a touch nerdy at times, there’s something heartfelt about his embrace of the style and its classic motifs, and something commendable about the way he avoids getting lost in these.
Listen to the title track from Everything Is Alright below.