Finest Dearest – self-titled

The San Francisco indie rock quintet Finest Dearest began from humble beginnings in early summer 2004. After several line-up changes and features on WOXY’s Lounge Act, NPR’s Open Mic and in local San Fran periodicals, Finest Dearest is happy to present their newest, self-titled, full-length album. These five play with conviction rather than irony and have upped their rock quotient while maintaining the melodic sound that has come to define Finest Dearest.

Vocalist Carly Schneider has a unique voice that at times reminds me of Maura Davis (Denali, Ambulette), though not as deep, Rachel Minton (Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer), though not as warbly, Tegan & Sara, though less nasally, Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), though less country, and just about every female-fronted 90s rock band. In opening track “Naming Ceremony,” Schneider’s voice borders on smoky, but is more sexy breathy, atop dynamic and melodic guitar riffs provided by Josh Luke and Christine Bolghand.

Drummer Steve Treffers begins the next track with loud drums that compete with driving riffs, which become lazy in “Your Hometown” before amping up their energy to create a lively tempo. Much of Finest Dearest features pounding drums and driving riffs, which oft times venture into eerily ambient territory. “Making a Sound 3” draws largely on a soft yet heavy ambiance before the disco mellows out with sugary vocals and a mellow rhythm section and bass line from AJ Dickerson on “Fathers.”

My favorite track off the album is “Tunnel Vision” due to its doo woppy and blusey tone with a well constructed bridge and great beats. “Pendulum,” too, sways with a soft and sweet melody, as the title suggests. The album ends on a hauntingly ambient note in “March to Flames.” Treffers kills the drum kit with a repetitive and pounding beat structure featuring lots of bass drum and cymbal crashes. Luke and Bolghand intersperse light, twinkling riffs with heavy and eerie ones, causing a strange dynamic as the album plays out.

If you were smart enough to be listening to Veruca Salt, Hole and Bikini Kill in the 90s instead of Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls (um…guilty of the latter!), you should definitely pick up a copy of Finest Dearest’s Finest Dearest, available now.

01. “Naming Ceremony”
02. “Night-blooming Flowers”
03. “Your Hometown”
04. “Making A Sound 1”
05. “Making A Sound 2”
06. “Making A Sound 3”
07. “Fathers”
08. “Tunnel Vision”
09. “Serious”
10. “Pendulum”
11. “March Into Flames”

Finest Dearest: website | myspace
Bloodtown Records: website

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