FINN: The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own (Erased Tapes)


Posted on Nov 17th 2008 01:41 am

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Finn: The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own

The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own
Erased Tapes 2008
16 Tracks. 49mins53secs

Finn is the project of German multi-instrumentist Patrick Zimmer, who also doubles as a fashion designer. Born in 1977, the man, who spends his time between his home town of Hamburg and London, has been releasing music since early 2003, when his first collection of delicate pop/folk songs, Expose Yourself To Lower Education, was released on German imprint Sunday Service. He has since delivered regular singles and albums, but his latest is the first of his records to be released on London-based Erased Tapes.

Sounding like a cross between Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue and Sigur Rós’s Jónsi Birgisson, with a touch of Nick Drake, Zimmer creates beautifully evocative lo-fi pop vignettes which often rise from minimal acoustic formation where guitar and discreet electronics are woven into tight sonic capsules, to erupt into sweeping orchestral swathes. The pace is notably slow throughout, as to allow for breathing spaces and give an impression of depth through silences as much as through expensive orchestrations.

The album is divided into five sections, or acts, bookended by a prologue and an epilogue, and tells a classic tale of life and death. Beyond this, Heartbreakers is likely to draw comparisons with Icelandic cinematic alt. rockers Sigur Rós for its evocative scope, but Zimmer somehow keeps his swirling orchestral strips to human scale and avoids over sentimentalising his otherwise wonderfully light and airy songs. Right from the start though, he affirms the musical dimension of this record with Half-Moon Stunned and Truncheon Sound which both open with delicate acoustic motifs casting light shades below the voice, but soon, especially on the latter, the orchestration swells into roaring cascades of strings and percussions before returning to the gentler shores of their respective opening moments. All throughout Heartbreakers, the formula is repeated, to various intensity and depth. At times, the scope remains pretty minimal and subdued (Dew, My Last Rites, The Fourth, The Fifth), while elsewhere, the sound is richer while still remaining pretty under control (In The Wake Of, This Is No Lullaby).

It is on songs such as the diptych Boy-Cott and Girl-Cott, or on the truly epic Julius Caesar that Zimmer unleashes the full force of his music. These ambitious pieces are carried by luxurious orchestral swathes which swell and recede at every new twist of the melody. This is particular true with the seven-minute long Julius Caesar, the centre piece of this album, which continuously alternate between simple acoustic guitar and full strings backdrops, providing the most dramatic and poignant moment here. Toward the end, Zimmer opts for a much livelier setting for The Truth Is A Lie and Please Don’t… Please when he introduces a drum beat for the first time. This somewhat surprises but also demonstrates a much poppier sensibility, at least for a moment.

Heartbreakers is not without faults, the main one perhaps being that the album occasionally seems stuck in one gear, with very little room to manoeuvre within its template. This said, Patrick Zimmer has created a very human and enduring piece of work here, on which he successfully develops a rich and ambitious sound.


Finn | Erased Tapes
Buy: CD | LP

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