I first saw Fin’s Contingency Plan purely on accident while he was supported a few friends at a gig. From the second he began to play, I was instantly a fan. Like the Ben Folds of Brissy, he paired complex musical ideas with fun melodies, lyrics and themes. Seeing Fin play is more than your average show; it’s an experience in itself. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard he was releasing his debut album!
He describes ‘Murphy’s Law’ as concept record detailing the “tedium of work, the inevitability of fate, the hazards of working in television, and good old-fashioned heartbreak.” And that’s exactly what he did. Describing things that end and life’s daily disappointments, the record is really just the musical form of the phrase “it is what it is” but much cooler and with a full brass section.
The Pilot opens the album, and it sounds exactly what a Sunday afternoon feels like. With birds chirping and a simple toy keyboard melody, it gives a happy, calm and relaxed feeling. Well, that’s until all the other instruments come in! The song never goes exactly where you expect. With acoustic guitar sections to the part which sounds like 90’s style video game music (you’ll know when you hear it), the song is acts like a mini movie within itself. It never strays from the core emotions—triumph, hope and pure unadulterated joy. Featuring overdriven guitar, incredible vocal layering and a full brass section, The Pilot is a lively, wholly enjoyable way to start the album.
This transitions perfectly into following track Murphy’s Law. Stating the law plainly—“if anything can go wrong, it will” — the track poses an optimistic outlook about the uncertainty of life. It feels like the kind of song you’d hear in a 90s teen movie, following the life of the “misfit”. “Mum said if the bastards get you down, not to spend your time just moping ’round at home”. It’s overall optimistic and motivating; life gets shit sometimes but what are you gonna do about it? Let it get the best of you?
Skymining is a song we’ve already picked Fin’s brain over; a story about an astronaut who picked up a boring, lonely job up in space (a government funded job that’s not run very well, mind you). It’s an indie-folk style slow-burner with lyrics that can be applied to any mundane job you wish to relate it to. Death & Taxes follows, an upbeat, theatrical track about, well, capitalism. With the same energy as Bo Burnham’s How the World Works, it’s a cheery, almost Playschool-esque track with a darker undertone. And let’s not forget the brass at the end! Entr’acte — which translates to “between the acts” — acts as an interval between the two sections of the album, adding perfectly to the theatrical aspect of Fin’s music. Musically, you can hear just how much the song’s shift after this point.
Tell Me I’m Wrong, although it still has the same cartoonish, musical-theatre element to the production, is much sadder than previous tracks. The melody is simple yet his vocal delivery comes of somewhat pleading; “tell me I’m wrong” he repeats throughout the chorus. “All my little nerves have tied into a knot. The strangest thing I’ve felt in all my life. And the feeling burns, to the morning time.”. Fin’s lyricism here are the highlight of the album for me, combining metaphor and simplicity to produce a truly heartbreaking piece of music. “I have got a stone inside my stomach lining. I found a way to keep the sun from shining” he sings to open Exodus. The song is very dark in its delivery, with an industrial style beat, dark brass, single-not piano and robotic vocal effect. He sings in a much deeper voice. I can’t think of any better way to describe the track outside the lovechild of The Imperial March and something off ‘A Night At The Opera’.
The theme of heartbreak continues with Things We Missed, a breakup anthem mixing folk and baroque pop elements. “And I remember the things we missed, the life we said we’d have. So baby tell me, did it exist? Or was I going mad.” The simple guitar melody is continuous throughout the song as brass counter-melodies slowly seep their way in. His vocal delivery is conversational and melancholic as he reflects on the future he could have had. Time follows, a 4 minute epic slow burner. His Ben Folds influence shines through again with the complex piano melody. This, combined with the ’80s rock style overdriven guitars aids to its cinematic and theatric climax. It’s hard to describe just how great this feels to listen to. He finishes the album with Running Song, a playful folk song, describing going for a run to clear your head. “The nightmares never catch up when they hear you running past”.
Fin’s debut so eloquently combines expert lyricism with creative production design to create a truly immerseful record surrounding the ups and downs of the human experience. If you’ve never heard Fin’s music before, this record is the best place to start.
‘Murphy’s Law’ is available now on all platforms.
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