It’s easier to love Finn Riggins as human beings than as a band. Based on keyboardist-singer Eric Gilbert’s roles organizing last month’s Treefort Music Fest and a Boise showcase at South By Southwest, the group is cherished as a local-scene philanthropist. But the indie-rock trio’s uncompromising, high-energy sound can be loose and noisy, earning praise as “quirky” and “experimental” more naturally than, say, “something I instantly want to listen to again.”
"Benchwarmers," a new five-song EP available April 21, could change that perception.
There’s a rump-winding groove hidden among Gilbert’s plodding, subwoofer-rattling keyboard line, and Lisa Simpson’s distant guitar bursts on the title track. As Simpson cheerfully describes “all the kids on the bench” — wearing blue jeans, shimmying, swinging their hips — you need to join her dance party.
Confidence is attractive, and Simpson exudes more of it than before. Her voice’s pretty, feminine side blossoms on “Plural,” setting up the contrast of a hard-driving Finn Riggins instrumental finish. As a guitarist, she noodles less and executes more.
“Parkour,” which drowns in its own busyness, serves as a reminder that Finn Riggins still marches to the beat of a different drummer. (Cameron Bouiss, actually, whose tribal rhythms drive a dark, cool new NBA television ad using Finn Riggins music.)
But when Simpson declares “I got news for you!” on the fun, crowd-fueled steamroller “Big News,” you've already come to realize what the real headline is: For less-edgy listeners still unsure about Finn Riggins, it’s time to get off the bench and join the Boise band’s freshly appealing pick-up game.
Live: Finn Riggins will perform April 20 at an EP release party at the Linen Building in Boise.
WATERFOWL OF EASTERN CANADA
A Seasonal Disguise
Cello, accordion and glockenspiel add dimension to this Boise collective’s indie-rock and eccentric-folk charm. Your feelings about the album will hinge on your reaction to frontman Z.V. House’s artsy vocals. And your feelings about clarinet in rock.
Boise Rock School
The students at Boise’s school for the cool kids have released their first compilation album. All 11 songs were written and performed by them. It’s worth a listen just for the smile you’ll get hearing these kids rock out — not to mention the fact that People in Progress’ vastly entertaining “The Food Song” sounds like a lost Rebecca Black track.