FINNEAS makes room for his own voice on Blood Harmony

FINNEAS

Niko Tavernise | Warner Brothers

Emanuela Gallo

Blood Harmony may be the first project released by Finneas O’Connell under his stage name FINNEAS, but it’s not the first he’s worked on. He has been writing, producing and recording with his younger sister, Billie Eilish, for years.

Her debut WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? was produced and co-written exclusively by FINNEAS. It was also recorded in his small bedroom studio in California.

The album’s main hits are dark and dramatic, glittering with breathy vocals and hyper-modern synths. Blood Harmony is a stark contrast.

FINNEAS takes on a more singer-songwriter and simplistic approach to his own music.

The first track, “I Lost a Friend,” displays vulnerability and emotion both lyrically and musically.

The ballad starts off with a slow piano, but slowly sheds its demo-like quality as the song progresses.

Its complexity isn’t obvious, but can be found in the production’s subtle details. Weaving in and out of verses is static noise created by a synthesizer.

FINNEAS described this unique sound as “turning a dial on a radio and trying to tune in to a frequency” in Rolling Stone. The sound of shattering glass, reminiscent of a car crash, is snuck in before the second chorus.

Similar to the production, the lyrics begin with simple statements: “I lost a friend / Like keys in the sofa / Like a wallet in the back seat.” Following this pattern of nuance, he is careful to not exonerate himself from fault, using descriptions of regret and self-reflection.

The result is a song that is overwhelmingly raw and cathartic. He told Coup de Main, “When I finally wrote it, it was one of those songs that there was a lot of water buildup, it just poured out.”

The tempo picks up with “Shelter,” the leading single off the seven track EP. While the lyrics may be a little lacking, it leaves an opening for the production and vocals to shine through.

It opens with an acoustic spin on the plucky melody found in Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.” The chorus has a triumphant aura, making use of beating drums and breathy harmony lines.

Lyrics illustrate the feverish passion of a relationship, imitated by the song’s urgent pace and production. It was originally written in 2016 for Avicii, but it is unconfirmed if the artist, who passed two years later, heard it.

“Lost My Mind” is another introspective ballad, this time about a failed romantic relationship.

Windchimes can be heard behind the first verse, eventually replaced by soothing background vocals.

A vibrating, heartbeat-esque rhythm is later introduced, picking up the pace for the remainder of the song. It was originally written for pop artist Alice Kristiansen, who released her version in 2017.

However, the song never left its spot in FINNEAS’ heart. “It’s important to recognize when a song remains important to you,” he revealed to Billboard.

Blood Harmony continues with the upbeat “I Don’t Miss You At All,” a track that tells the story of denial. The lyrics are tongue in cheek: “I don’t mean to boast / But I only dream about you / Once or twice a night at most.”

“Partners in Crime” is a starry-eyed, dazzling song about misled lovers. Its use of guitar and storytelling adds an air of nostalgia. Otherwise, it is one of the more forgettable tracks on the EP.

The sonically diverse “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night” shines most on the second verse, where FINNEAS interpolates his breaths into the production.

“Die Alone” is a fitting finale, in the shape of a graceful love song. FINNEAS’ vocals soar here, even elevating to a falsetto towards the end.

These seven tracks make up his first project, but aren’t the first songs he’s ever released. FINNEAS has been dropping singles steadily over the past three years, culminating in a total of thirteen singles.

In an interview with Coup De Main, he remarked, “I think I wanted to have something that represented me in a slightly more concrete way than singles do. I wanted to have a project that made somewhat of a statement.”

The EP acts as a bridge to his debut album, which will be released in 2020.