Album review: Erik Voeks - Finulu (EP)

Finulu is the first extended follow up to Erik Voeks’s debut EP Free Range (see my review here). While I very much enjoyed the more laid-back and folky sounds featured on Free Range, it is nice to see Voeks further invite the whole orchestra pit to play on this EP.
“Descending From a Daydream” is a solid upbeat pop tune. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I am a complete whore for a good chug beat and “woo hoo”s. Both are featured here in spades. The harmonies are air tight, the arrangement is playful, the instrumentation is tastefully lush, and the lyrics are a little mischievous and tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps best is that this song really puts its money where its mouth is, as it is both somewhat a sonic departure from Voek’s previous work that I am familiar with as well as thematically about being sick of the same old tired music.
“And I’ve had enough of 12-bar blues,
And I’ve had all of your face that I can use”
“Cuz I’ve had enough of 1, 4, 5,
and I’ve had all of your shit I can’t survive
“Voted the boy most likely to succeed at the Dr Who convention…” greets your ear as you groove into the EP’s second track, “Dark Angel of Delmar.” This two-minute song tows the more goofy and playful side of power pop. But even if you don’t know what Tardis is, you can still bob your head to the solid groove and hum along to the hooky guitar line. Complete with a crowd-noise/baby-wailing fade out into the next song, this effort reinforces the sentiment laid out in the first track: don’t be the soulless jerk just rehashing the same crap that has been done over and over and over and over again.
The last two tracks are more like the material I remember from Free Range:heavy doses of thoughtful Americana meets the Beatles in “Hester A.Fish” and early to mid-‘90s power pop ala the Gin Blossoms or Soul Asylum in “What It Feels Like.” Whereas not as experimental or varied in their sonic landscape, these tracks are still top notch.
Finulu, which also happens to feature some of the most adorable album art ever, is another solid effort from Voeks. It is sonically impressive, lyrically astute, and notably coddled into a sincerely enjoyable listen.
You can see Erik Voeks and witness his brilliant range of songwriting at Crossroads Music Fest next Saturday, September 14 at Collection at 9:30 p.m. You can buy tickets in advance at this link for $15, $20 at the gate.
--Zach Hodson

Zach Hodson is a monster. He once stole a grilled cheese sandwich from a 4-year-old girl at her birthday party. He will only juggle if you pay him. I hear he punched Slimer right in his fat, green face. He knows the secrets to free energy, but refuses to release them until "Saved by the Bell: Fortysomethings" begins production.

He is also in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black & Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.


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