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‘Fin’ Dishes Deliciousness with ‘90s R&B Flavors

‘Fin’ Dishes Deliciousness with ‘90s R&B Flavors

Solo album from Sydney “Syd” Bennet of The Internet and Odd Future

“Fin,” the latest from singer/songwriter Syd, is pop rhythm and blues with slick instrumentation and production, reaching back to 90’s R&B superstars like Alliyah, Usher, and Brandy.

Syd’s vocal complexity and skill are fantastic on this album – she’s not just sticking to a gimmick, she’s got breadth as a performer. She’s self-assured and confident, and it shows in every part of the record.

Things bounce around, feels and flavors from other genres shine through, but “Fin” is, at its core, an R&B album, and it’s probably going to be one of the best of this year.

“Fin” has a complex and enthralling downtempo sound, there’s a lot of thick, syrupy bass grooves, distorted electro melodies, bubbling chill-out hooks, and Syd’s voice and whisper-rap lyrics are incredibly smooth and inviting. I would listen to Syd whisper dictionary entries into my ear if she would do it, I love her sound and delivery that much.
“Shake Em Off” starts with a weird blast of distorted synth, then settles into toy piano and crunchy bass, with Syd delivering languid vocals that remind us it’s none of our business how she deals with her stresses.

“Know” absolutely takes it’s feel from an Alliyah track – layered harmonies, popping drums, swooping vocals, and breathy sing-talk delivery. It’s the classic “Nobody can know we’re hooking up” story, telling the girl to stay the night, get one in in the morning, and, oh, just don’t tell anyone.

“No Complaints” is a little more than a minute of rapid-fire delivery that reminds me a little of Astronautalis. Things roll back into the soft, syncopated R&B realm with “Nothin to Somethin,” a victory track to drinking and success.

There’s a sudden shift in tone, as “All About Me” has a creepy vibraphone loop I can’t stop hearing in the back of my head. It has the feeling it’s being delivered by a Syd sitting alone on a broken piano in a haunted house, and the video isn’t far off. I desperately want there to be more tracks like this in Syd’s future.

“Smile More” moves from frozen warehouses to warm tones, soft lighting and having “company” over. “Got Her Own” is another in the same vein, with a brief poppy-er interlude following in “Drown in it.”

“Body” is absolutely this album’s sex anthem. I will let the lyrics speak for themselves: “Baby we can take it slow, say my name / Don’t let go, I can hear your body when I / Pull your hair, what’s my name / Girl I swear, I can hear your body babe.” Many people are going to get laid to this song in the future.

“Dollar Bills” has a pop and snap strip club party feel, with a lounge-y vibe, and it’s followed by “Over” which is a “We’re done here” style break up jam.

Things finish on “Insecurities” which is brilliant, vulnerable, and for some reason the chorus reminds me of “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, which isn’t a bad thing. The song finishes on a rough note with the fantastic line “Nah, I ain’t calling you the devil but / I rebuke your evil ways.”

Syd’s tour is hitting Philly, New York, and California, and that’s it so far. It looks like more tour dates may be added.

Find more from Syd on her website, Facebook and Soundcloud.

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Bradley T. Schuman is a pop culture geek and music nerd with far too many records and opinions. Reach him at music@freeabq.com.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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