Review: Finn Riggins at Silver Moon

Monday, June 29th, 2009, 9:41 am by Ben Salmon

Finn Riggins rocks out at Silver Moon Brewing Friday night. Photo by Ben.

Finn Riggins rocks out at Silver Moon Brewing Friday night. Photo by Ben.

Oops … meant to get this up on the blog over the weekend, but more music and bratwursts and sunshine and walking around town and Ping-Pong and corn on the cob and more music got in the way. I love summer.

Anyway, Finn Riggins, the Idaho trio that played Silver Moon Brewing on Friday night, may be my musical soulmate. Not because I love them above all others — I don’t (though I like them a lot) — but because I’m not sure I’ve heard a band that employs as much “WHOA-OOOH-OOOH!” action as this one.

I love adding my own “WHOA!” parts to songs where — hello! — they obviously are needed. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a pop song.

Finn Riggins fills in their own “WHOA!” parts everywhere, sometimes three voices at once, and the result is charming. The band’s album, “A Soldier, A Saint, An Ocean Explorer,” is good, but it’s one frenetic noiseburst after another, and it can be overwhelming to the ears at times. A hyperactive child is pretty cute … for a while.

You might expect that frenzied aesthetic to ratchet up a notch in a live setting, because that’s how live music usually is. It’s louder, it’s more energetic, and subtleties can be lost.

Finn Riggins goes the other way. On Friday night, the band seemed more in control of its music to me, more in tune with each other, more willing to let the songs breathe and to thrash and skronk in moderation. As a result, their pop soul shined.

It was most evident on a new song, “Wake,” that rode a roller-coaster “WHOA!” hook sung by guitarist Lisa Gibson, and an older song, “Detamble Wings,” with its insistent “GO! GO! GO! GO!” refrain. The theme here, obviously, is simple, visceral, memorable melodies that still have me humming along, two days later.

That may disappoint Finn Riggins, I don’t know. Not all bands want to make music so catchy it sticks in heads for days, and Finn Riggins’ goal may very well be to cloak their pop songs in an experimental veil. Or they may be evolving into a slightly more accessible sound.

All I know is I left Silver Moon Friday night liking the band and its show more than I expected to when I walked in. (Over?)analysis aside, that’s a good thing.

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