Remember that one band that had that one album that was kinda good a long time ago and then went away? Well, yeah, they're back, and honestly... some things are better left dead and gone. What It Is To Burn was lightning in a jar, a raw album of innocence and while somewhat cliche, the songs were moving and elegant in their simplicity. Years of breakups and hiatuses, label changes and member rotations ushered Finch off the map for some time, but now someone has invested a lot of time and money to try and bring them back. After all, they do know how to write a catchy song, and rock is dead, so says Gene Simmons, so why not?
Back to Oblivion is only their third full-length album. It marks the studio return of original drummer Alex Pappas, who seems to have lost his double bass pedal. On Burn his more metal style of drumming gave the band a neat contrast to all the other screamo and pop-punk that was big at the time, now it sounds like any other drumming for [insert emo band here]. Has awesome chops, doesn't use them.
Singer Nate Baraclow has a voice I've always liked, but he's opted for a more whiny My-Chemical-Romance style of vocal on this album. Moments of his vocal power shine through on tracks like Murder Me but I can only take so much of the butt-rock Axl Rose/Gerard Way style of singing offered here. Has awesome pipes, doesn't use them.
The rest of the music, while interesting at times, is like a salad of alt- and indie-rock formulae that have been dumped into one big bowl. It sounds like a band trying really hard to find a sound and ending up with a collection of many sounds that don't always jell. It doesn't feel organic or sincere. That was the appeal of their debut album 13 years ago, and why Burn is still an album I will listen to today. I really wanted Oblivion to be better than it was, I'm kinda bummed that it left me hanging.
I will say that there are moments on this that I like, but for their first record since 2005 it seems a bit lackluster. There are a couple of 'hits' on here, but as an album I found it difficult to get through in one sitting, and maybe this is an unjust comparison, but I can listen to Burn beginning to end and go back to the beginning again. You know what they say about lightning in a jar...