The Finite Beings – A Shell Of What Could Be

 The Finite Beings – A Shell Of What Could Be

The Finite Beings – A Shell Of What Could Be – EP Review

Well that’s a genuinely badass riff to get this party started.

The immediate crunch and allure of the music from The Finite Beings brand-new EP A Shell Of What Could Be makes itself known right off the drop as “Untamed” takes a bite outta your speakers and brings the heavy straight to ya.  For the Alternative/Hard Rock crowd out there, you’d be hard pressed to find a beginning to a record that’ll rival the gripping raw power & professionalism that this band outta Jersey starts this EP with…they’re playing with purpose and passion; there’s no doubt they’ve put their collective best into every ticking second you’re listening to on “Untamed.”  It’s ferociously played, fierce in its sound, and displays a wildly addictive energy & vibe to it that’ll have people hooked into this EP all over again every time it loops around to this first track again.  Full credit where credit is due, this is highly enticing stuff to listen to – I’ll readily admit to the fact that I myself have been more than happy to repeat the ride through A Shell Of What Could Be simply on the strengths that they crank out at the very start of this record on “Untamed,” and as we know from past reviews we’ve done on the music of The Finite Beings here at these pages of ours, they’ve certainly got more worth checking out in this lineup of five tracks too.  This is seriously exciting stuff and a stellar way to start things off…I fail to hear anything I’d remotely change about “Untamed” – I think the vocals are excellent, and the music is unquestionably spectacular.  Right off the drop, it feels like we’re getting one of their very best tracks in their catalog.  It’s somewhat the Filter approach to songwriting in a way…perhaps a slightly lighter version of that without all the vein-popping screamin’ goin on and more of a focus on the mystery of melody at the core of it all…but I’m very much digging what I’m hearing & think you’ll love it as much as I do.  Anytime you play with intent like The Finite Beings do on “Untamed,” believe me, I’m listening.

If I’m not mistaken, “The Virus” was the original lead-single that traces back the furthest prior to the release of this record, somewhere in the latter half of 2020 – so let’s be real here, A Shell Of What Could Be has been some time in the making, you follow me?  Show some respect for the records you listen to out there folks, they don’t just snap together overnight!  From what I can tell, I ended up on this band’s bandwagon post-release of this particular cut, but they appear to have released about a single per year on the way to putting out A Shell Of What Could Be, and for what it’s worth, I remember “The Virus” from checking into the band when I got involved with The Finite Beings and reviewing “The Shade” later on down the road.  I dig “The Virus” though…perhaps not quite as much as “Untamed” personally, but I’m onboard.  I think when you look at the timeline, and see that “The Virus” was released back in 2020, a lot of people out there are gonna assume that it’s a pandemic-related tune…and I honestly don’t think that’s necessarily the case.  I’m not saying that’s not possible – maybe it is – but I’d probably look at a song like “The Virus” and its title as coincidental timing really…to me, given the main hook of “to connect is to disconnect,” there’s probably a much better chance of this track being about how we use technology to the detriment of our social skills…that’s my take on it.  Like how we have all flooded to the online realm instead of hangin’ out with people live & in-person…which is a subject that certainly deserves some debate…some think it’s awful, some think it’s profound, and as a person that’s got no real choice but to be on the internet daily because YOU need to know about all the incredible music happening out there, I can definitely see both sides of the coin.  I’m a natural introvert…so for myself, the online realm has actually opened up doors for me…but for the extroverted, I can’t even imagine how different the world must feel for those out there desiring some kind of physical connection.  Anyhow.  These are just theories…I’m not saying your own take on “The Virus” would be any less valid than mine.  Good tune though…it’s thought-provoking right from the start, and of course I dig that.  At first I was like, “to connect is to disconnect” – is that a nice way of saying something without saying anything?  Then I started to peel back the layers and tried to figure out what’s actually being said.  Still don’t know that I’ve got it right – I never am – but I’m comfortable enough with my theory to write it in here for ya.  In any event, “The Virus” is the track that’s quite likely regarded as their most popular song if the hits at Spotify are any indication…so trust me when I tell ya, they don’t need to hear it from me that they’ve got something solid with this cut…that’s been established, and the people have rendered their verdict.

As I mentioned, I came into the picture somewhere around the time that they released “The Shade” back in May of 2021…and if you’re listening closely to the words of this tune, you’ll find it’s the cut that ended up being the inspiration for the title of this EP.  Like a brilliant cross between the sound of a band like I Mother Earth, and songwriting you’d find somewhere in the shadows of an Alice In Chains record like Dirt, “The Shade” carves out a mischievous spot of musical mayhem The Finite Beings can proudly call their own.  A welcome return to my speakers – I love the way they’ve got the harmonies threaded into this track, I love their use of space, and the vibe itself is deadly y’all.  “The Shade” was the first track I’d heard from The Finite Beings, and the single that got me seriously excited about this band overall – make sure to read my original thoughts on this song by clicking here…I’m sure I still stand by every word like I generally do with everything I’ve ever written.  In terms of the context of this particular record – I still dig it, I still think it’s a great fit for this lineup of five too – I might be a bit more partial to “Untamed” this time around, but that could very well be the effect of hearing something I know versus the power of hearing something entirely new.  “The Shade” is a solid track through and through though…you’ll dig it.

As for “Time Slave,” I think we might have discovered what could become the unsung hero of this EP.  In my heart of hearts, of course I’d only hope that people dig this song as much as I do…but it’s hard to say what the reaction to the lighter-side of The Finite Beings sound might be when they seem to have built themselves on a more heavy & aggressive vibe overall.  “Time Slave” is actually outright beautiful to listen to when you hone in on everything that’s gone into it…the piano accents on the melody, the eastern influence on the guitars, the subtle melody in the percussion, the enchanting way the vocals flow, the reliability of the bass…it really has it all, and creates a uniquely mesmerizing experience with The Finite Beings music that authentically sounds like something we’ve never heard from them before.  It’s creative, it’s artistic, it’s ambitious…and it’s actually got a whole lot of accessibility & appeal to it as well…as in, they’re not trading one thing for another, so much as giving you a new dimension of their sound that truly suits them.  I’m trying to figure out where it might fit best into their set-list though…I think it could be a killer opening to a live show, before they explode into their heavier Alternative tracks – or it could be an awesome song to start their encore with too.  Other than those places, don’t get me wrong, it’ll still fit somewhere, but it’s always going to feel like that moment where The Finite Beings are intentionally slowing things down for a minute or two, whereas as an opening track to the show or an encore is going to give them a bit more freedom to experiment and expand this moment in time even more.  And heck, if I was playing this song, I’d practically wanna LIVE IN IT for as long as I possibly could.  Notably, the two tracks on this record that are completely new to me…some three years-plus after the journey towards A Shell Of What Could Be originally began…are without a doubt my favorites on this EP right now.  As much as I’d like to assume that’s the effect of hearing great new tunes, I have the feeling that it’s more than that…I think it’s the fact that The Finite Beings have become a better band over the years that have gone by, and they’re now releasing some of their most groundbreaking material to-date.

AND NOW WE COME TO THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!  Oh boy…I tell ya…somewhere on the other side of the screen out there, The Finite Beings are wondering what in the heck else this guy could say about “Hope Is Sleeping In Grace’s Arms” after his previous review back in October of last year…they’re on pins and needles right now y’all.  I’m really not that scary, I promise.  Did things get better with this song now being in the context of a lineup of five tracks on an EP?  Will he once again highlight what he didn’t really love about it like he did last time?  Come on now…you’ve been reading and following along right?  My opinion on anything so rarely changes, though I’m always open to that happening.  I don’t know that this is gonna be the time that it does, and you’re welcome to read the original review on “Hope Is Sleeping In Grace’s Arms” by clicking here – BUT – I will say this…polarizing tunes are often remarkably memorable, and that should never be anything that anyone shies away from.  I might not think that this final cut holds a candle to the other four in the set in my own personal opinion – but I remember it like I just heard it yesterday…and I’d be the first person to tell ya that means they’ve actually got something significant here in this tune.  At the end of the day, the execution and the professionalism is there…and ultimately, that’s all we can ever ask for; they didn’t let themselves down, which is what really matters.  The rest is all the natural back and forth in battling personal taste in the court of public opinion, and you can’t ever really win that fight anyway.  Sure there are universal tracks that we can all agree on – and I’m not even saying that “Hope Is Sleeping In Grace’s Arms” is a bad tune even remotely, or that it needs to be more accessible to all – in fact, I’m saying you continue to do YOU the best that YOU can do it…that’s all that really ever matters.  Where a dude like me will tell ya that “Hope Is Sleeping In Grace’s Arms” is played with resolute commitment and reveals the inherent professionalism of The Finite Beings more than it gives me what the other four songs in the set do in terms of what I wanna hear from them, there are thousands upon thousands out there that’ll happily disagree with everything I said, and rightly so.  Like what you like, love what you love, and if you’re the people behind creating the art & music, make sure to put everything you’ve got into what you do so that you can proudly stand behind every second of it…that’s all any of us can ever do.  Our differences are what makes this world go ’round y’all!  The last thing any artist should be focused on is satisfying the ears of a music critic…we’re just people, we’ve only got an opinion like everyone else does, the only thing that makes us different is that we put it into print, that’s it, that’s all.  So you keep on being YOU The Finite Beings – that’s all that ever matters!  They put the work into this last track & they’re willing to stand behind it…I’ve got love for that!  Even though it might not be my favorite of the set, I still think they’re a freakin’ great band overall, and I’d look forward to anything these dudes cook up…they play with purpose, passion, and professionalism…that’s something I always welcome & love to hear in any song or record, by any band or artist that I choose to listen to.  Hopefully we can all agree on that.

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