Temecula, California, emo quintet Finch have been plenty busy since exchanging fisticuffs with bro-rockers Disturbed at last summer’s Rolling Rock Town Fair. The group has finished a new album, Say Hello to Sunshine, and is scheduled to kick off a tour this week.
Guitarist Alex Linares said Say Hello to Sunshine – Finch’s first full-length for Geffen and the successor to their 2002 debut, What It Is to Burn – will signal a change in direction for the band. Those expecting What It Is to Burn, Vol. 2 might be in for a bit of a shock on the June 7 release.
“When we started getting successful with What It Is, I was like, ‘F–, I feel like we’re going to be pigeonholed,’ ” he said. “So, when we started writing for this record, we wanted to be different…. It’s not that we have any distaste for other bands; we just wanted to move [forward]. It seems like there are a lot of bands coming out… [the] scene’s being flooded. We just wanted to not be a part of anything, really…. I think we’ve gotten better as musicians and better as a band. This record and every record after it is going to be different, and we’ll always try to take things not to a different level but to a different place.”
Linares thinks Say Hello captures Finch at their most aggressive – even more so than their Disturbed tussle. Hard to imagine for anyone who’s heard their first record, but then again, the guitarist counters, the band hasn’t completely abandoned the staid emo sound that saturated its debut disc.
“I would say it’s a little more aggressive and a little more ‘ raaah ‘ than our previous stuff,” he explained. “There are some heavy elements on What It Is and there are some heavy elements to Say Hello to Sunshine…. We really wanted to make a record where it sounded huge… and capture what I think we sound like live, which is big and, well, f–ed up. There’s a lot less of the pop side to this record and more straight-up rock.”
Finch enlisted Michael Palmieri, who recently directed the Bravery’s “An Honest Mistake,” to direct a video for “Bitemarks and Bloodstains.” The clip’s concept sprang from the fertile mind of drummer Marc Allen. He ran the idea by the rest of the band – guitarists Linares and Randy Strohmeyer, bassist Derek Doherty and frontman Nate Barcalow – and they fell in love with it.
“There’s some performance shots, but more of the video’s us in a room with all sorts of busted TVs and broken stereos,” Linares said. “There’s very little light coming in, and we’re kind of closed off from what’s happening outside.”
And what’s going down beyond those shadow-drenched walls is no picnic.
“There’s this mass hysteria where everyone’s watching the news – CNN and whatever – and freaking out. They’re evacuating the city,” Linares said. “It’s about the whole experience of the mass media and how they get these gullible people to live in fear. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’re at Code Orange, we’re at Code Red.’ ”
The clip won’t actually show the fearsome broadcast images that are creating the bedlam.
“The video’s kind of us making a statement that we’re not listening to you, to the media, and we won’t be affected by this fear through the media,” Linares said. “If it were up to me, we would be in a circus playing with circus animals. But Marc takes things a little more seriously. It’s probably for the better.”
On Thursday, Finch will hit the road with Vendetta Red and the Nurses, stopping in 13 cities before crossing the Atlantic for some European shows with Motion City Soundtrack. They’re scheduled to return to play 14 additional gigs on U.S. soil in May and June, this time with Vendetta Red and Walking Concert, which features guitarist Walter Schreifels of Quicksand and Rival Schools note.
The track list for Finch’s Say Hello to Sunshine, according to Linares: