Fink, Hard Believer

Victoria Segal

By Victoria Segal

on 07.14.14 in Reviews
After a slow build, something of a career climax

The spacious beats that occasionally loom behind the songs on Hard Believer hint at Fin Greenall’s former life. The Bristol-raised DJ and producer has collaborated with Zero 7, Lamb, Nitin Sawnhey and even a 17-year-old Amy Winehouse (his track “Half Time” features on her posthumous compilation Lioness) — but Hard Believer is dedicated to somber, lushly orchestrated songwriting, a talent that has led to his curious niche on Ninja Tune. For a man with such a multilayered career behind him, Greenall — together with bassist Guy Whittaker and drummer Tim Thornton — can play it very straight, and the National-sized “Shakespeare” and “Looking Too Closely” sounding a lot like an as-the-crow-flies journey between the studio and the nearest arena. There are, however, moments that are harder to pin down: The title track’s stately gothic feel suggests Mark Lanegan, while the expansive “White Flag” sounds like a woozy vamp round a lost Bad Seeds piano motif. With two live albums — 2012′s Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet and 2013′s Fink Meets the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra — to the Fink name, Greenall’s ambitions have always been admirably grand, and Hard Believer should bring their fulfillment ever closer. As he sings on the moody Radiohead glower of “Pilgrim”: “From small beginnings come big endings.” After a slow build, Hard Believer feels like something of a career climax.