When asked about the persistent, track-after-track rocking on their newest release, Say Hello to Sunshine – a disc that, contrary to its title, does not evoke any emotions that would be associated with bright daylight – guitarist Randy Strohmeyer explains, "It just came out that way." The new disc, which boasts 14 tracks that listen like a nonstop slalom ride through vocalist Nate Barcalow’s brain, never slows down to catch its breath. In fact, Strohmeyer notes, the album is such a rough-and-tumble journey through a crowded cerebrum that, at times, it does not feel like a pre-charted path, but instead a compilation of songs written by several people, from different perspectives.
"We didn’t plan out how we wanted the record to sound. We recorded and took the best tracks," Strohmeyer says. He is quick to add: "This is exactly what we wanted, though. This is how we wanted it to sound."
Finch, completed by Derek Dohetry on bass, Alex Linares on rhythm guitar and newcomer Marc Allen on drums, is a mid-level band standing on the precipice between local stardom and national notoriety. Though its 2002 debut full-length, What it is to Burn, may have been lost in the shuffle of emerging post hardcore bands of the time, it possessed a subtlety and melodic grace that the band seems to have abandoned in their latest record in favor of a more raw sound.
"That record (What it is to Burn) was really more accessible," Strohmeyer admits. "This one (Say Hello to Sunshine) isn’t likely to get us any new fans. But we don’t care, we recorded this for us, and we like it." The conviction to record an album solely to please one’s self comes from a confidence many bands lack.
One of the standout aspects of Finch’s songwriting process is the snippets of powerfully poetic lyrics emoted in Barcalow’s half-contained screams. On the title track from their debut, his throaty lamentation that "today’s on fire" ensnared the attention of young listeners. During "Ink," the latest single, he emotes, "Ink runs into my cup/I sip epiphany." These identifiably partial profundities are what set Finch apart from the plethora of bands trying to make a name for themselves out of the rapidly growing popularity of screamo and hardcore.
"I don’t like to let my influences get too involved in the music I write," says Strohmeyer. "I want to come to writing like coming to a blank canvas. I don’t want to be painting on a canvas that already has a lot of shit on it."
It may help that he draws influence not specifically from other musicians, but from other artists in general. "I am very inspired by movies, the feelings and emotions of different movies," Strohmeyer says. A favorite of his is Tim Burton, who, according to the guitarist, has an "awesome style" to his films.
The new record and summer tour, which wraps up Sept. 3 in San Diego, are only the next steps in a career path that is sure to keep this Temecula band on the forefront of the music scene. As for where they’re headed next? That’s something Strohmeyer isn’t sure of.
"I am really happy where we are right now. I wouldn’t want to be a huge band," he concludes. At this point, it may be out of his control where this Icarian band glides to next.
Say Hello to Sunshine is currently available. For more information, visit www.finchmusic.com.