Fink: Distance and Time
Ninja Tune

Rare for a Ninja Tune release, Fink's Distance and Time eschews samples entirely and, if there are electronic enhancements present, they're largely imperceptible. The album's stark presentation—vocals and acoustic guitar (plus, to a lesser degree, electric) joined by an occasionally hefty bass-and-drum attack on songs like “Trouble's What You're In” and the electrified closer “Little Blue Mailbox”—is perhaps even more surprising when one factors in the production contributions of Lamb's Andy Barlow. Regardless, Distance and Time's songs are delivered powerfully enough to accommodate their relatively uncluttered presentation. Certainly the sparse instrumental garb allows Fink's vocal nuances to be more audible, like the subtle hint of venom that bleeds through his smooth croon in “Trouble's What You're In” and the weary sigh that inflames his delivery in “This Is the Thing”; it's also nice to report that the singing withstands the scrutiny its prominent placement invites. Lyrically, the focus is on failed relationships and the cynical fallout and world weariness brought about by such experience. An undercurrent of violence and anger threatens to tear apart the propulsive aggression of “Blueberry Pancakes,” while “Get Your Share,” consistent with the overall mood of the material, sounds like it's less about generosity per se than vindictive comeuppance. The material is generally brooding, but there's resilience too: the foreboding tone of “Make It Good,” for example, is belied by a hopeful lyric that proposes that a broken relationship might be put “back together, piece by piece.” Distance and Time memorably demonstrates that screaming isn't the only way to make an impact.

November 2007