They say in sports that sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make, and the same can be true with bands. Finch spent nine years working on the follow-up to their 2005 second album Say Hello to Sunshine. During that time, the Southern California post-hardcore band broke up twice before finally completing Back to Oblivion and playing last year's Warped Tour.
The first breakup was in 2006, and was largely just burnout. They reunited a year later, released an EP, and toured for a year before going into the studio. Unable to coalesce on a vision for their third disc, they broke up again. Bassist and co-writer Daniel Wonacott, who signed on after the first break-up, believes the second one was for the best because it set the stage for this album.
"The climate back in 2008 was a lot different than it is right now, as far as our scene," Wonacott notes. "We wisely decided to call it quits and say what we're doing isn't up to Finch standards. I'm actually extremely happy we made that decision, in hindsight, because it allowed us to get back together a couple years later and write the new record, which we really, really love."
Over time, maturity had helped smooth over the competing musical agendas that sunk the band's prior attempts to record. That's especially difficult for a band like Finch, which has at least four principal songwriters.
"With Finch, it's like we have to measure and debate and figure out what's what, and whose material goes on what," Wonacott says. "[Now] everyone is older, wiser. You don't take things as serious. You don't take things as personal."
The reward for waiting is a muscular, anthemic disc nostalgic for those halcyon days before screaming brutalized melody. It ranges from slinky post-grunge rockers ("Play Dead," "Us vs. Them") to metal-inflected punk ("Further From the Few"), Foo Fighter-ish rock ("Picasso Trigger") and slow-burn atmospheric rockers ("Murder Me").
Initially reuniting to support their debut album's 10th anniversary, the group didn't feel as out-of-sync with its audience as it had a few years prior.
"It gave us the confidence to believe in our band again," Wonacott says. "It's like, 'OK, we really can go out, play big rooms, really put on a good show and execute our vision. Taking that kind of confidence into the studio is invaluable."
Meanwhile, dedicated fans helped the album reach No. 6 and No. 11 on the Hard and Modern Rock charts, respectively. Does absence does make the heart grow fonder?
"The culture moves in cycles that way, and there is still something really potent and powerful about loud guitar rock," says Wonacott. "The culture chooses to ignore it every couple years and try something new, but it always seems to land back at big, loud rock. It's always a little different than before, but I think rock has a bright future."
Meanwhile, the band is happy to play even a small role in it.
"When you get to your 30s and you realize you can still make a halfway decent living making music, you don't really want to give that up. It's not lost on us, the rarity of our situation, and I don't think anyone's looking to get a real job yet."