2019 has produced varying results for the American pop underground, but one of the shinier diamonds to see release this April is undoubtedly Jerad Finck’s “Home,” a low-key synth ballad that sees the young singer/songwriter transforming a reflective verse into an introspective confessional that stands out in his intriguing body of work. “Home” is all about its cosmopolitan grooves and concise lyrics, and though it’s one of the more restrained numbers we’ve seen out of the spring season, its rhapsodic qualities make it a much more engaging single than some of the heavier-hyped fodder we’ve heard from mainstream artists. Finck is at his most literate here, and in the dramatic build up to this song’s earnest chorus, we experience a cathartic tone that is unlike any other you’ll find in indie pop at the moment.
The vocal track is a tad overindulgent in a few spots, but it’s balanced out by a swarthy bass that is dripping with sexy swagger. The languid drums forge a dignified backdrop for the lyrics to colorize with their emotional narrative, with a scattered keyboard melody adding an ebullient texture to the words that is essential to the substance of “Home,” at least from where I sit. The mix is multilayered and doesn’t allow for any of the instrumental parts to overlap or muddy the harmonies, which isn’t something that I’ve seen in other synthpop songs lately. Finck takes his time attacking the chorus, and in his relaxed approach actually ends up making the hook all the more memorable.
It takes some legitimate sonic sorcery to master the difficult art of manipulating synthetic grooves into something that is wholly organic and inspiringly melodic, and Finck comes close to pulling it off with “Home.” There’s no overbearing robotic tone to the synthesizers in this song, and despite their size, they’re never as strong of an element as the vocal is. You don’t have to be an expert in recording to appreciate the level of detail that went into structuring this single, but for particular music enthusiasts with an ear for the sophisticated, this is a really striking exhibit to behold. Jerad Finck might not be the most discussed artist in the underground right now, but with tracks like this coming out of his recent studio sessions, one has to wonder how much longer his brand will stay on the indie side of the dial.
I was only somewhat familiar with Jerad Finck’s work before checking out “Home” for the first time recently, but I have to say that I’ve become a big fan since. Listeners who might have been dismissive of his past releases should make a point in giving this track a spin, as it shows off a self-consciousness that I later discovered to be an underlying staple of his entire catalogue. It’s embodied in this song, and accompanied by an intimate melodicism that makes a wonderful soundtrack for a night at the club or an afternoon at home just the same. In a hit or miss year for pop music, this is one single that you can rely on for some assured satisfaction.
Photo by Nick Alexander