We were first introduced to this must-have album by way of my dear friend Forest C., who’s a friend of Mr. Adam Finkel. His moniker/band name is Alek. Fin, and his debut album, Better When Seen From Above, was released late last year. If the production is familiar to you, and Radiohead crosses your mind, there’s good reason for it.

Diehard Radiohead fans may recall Philip Selway (drummer for Radiohead) holding a remix competition for Selway’s song Beyond Reason, off of his solo album, Familial. After sifting through the 300 plus entries to the contest, Finkel emerged as the victor. With dozens of hours put into the remix, it was a trophy well won.

Alek. Fin’s debut is a true manifestation of what it means to put your soul into music. While the programming and mixing on the album is minimal, the vocals carry the album to an infectious height. After streaming this album from his website for a week straight at work, I knew it would be a Behind the Hype featured article. We obtained a copy, and here are my favorites from the collection. Right off the bat, I will say that his work is very reminiscent of old Radiohead, meets a bit of Nine Inch Nails.

Hindsight, the 3rd track, had the simplest (just one word) chorus, but easily the catchiest one on the entire album. The upbeat drum and snare, with the heavy organ and spooky piano effects carried the song quite a ways, giving room to smooth head-bobbing before the beautiful bridge a little more than halfway through the song.

The 5th track, Wrong Door contains mainly live instruments, with a heavy guitar floating overhead throughout, coupled with a solid bass line, and second guitar, whose effects reminded me of 1901 by Phoenix. A vicious breakdown, with a mighty bass guitar interlude drops in at about 1:45, and brings the beat back to something along the lines of something Michael Jackson could have dropped in the Captain EO dance scene.

With a simple breakbeat loop, and soft electric guitar intro, the 8th track, Filling Silences was the best song on the album. The bass guitar brings in a heavier tone to the songs perfectly sung, echoing verses. The guitars in the chorus will most likely remind you of something Minus the Bear has done, while the nerdier ones may have Super Metroid effects on the brain if you listen closely to the background keys.

The only thing I don’t like about this album, is that fact I didn’t get a hold of it before releasing my Best of 2010 Mixtape on Facebook. Adam clearly has a robust collection of music, with an even larger understanding of the production process, and how to make things fit. For a first time solo album, this is stellar work, and I hope to review a live show of him and his crew of musicians.

The album reminds me of several other musicians, without making one think he is just a copycat. He is very much his own entity, and the sophomore album couldn’t come soon enough. The album is available to purchase on several platforms, so support this powerful newcomer, and as Drake says, thank me later.

Until next time my friends,

~Flak