The artist duo FINKEL are two of the quirkiest rule breakers in the music and art world that I know. Their new album Sick 2020 is yet another release from FINKEL that offers way more fun stuff than solely music elements. Brian and Jane Spencer, who make up the band FINKEL, are two cool, creative cats.
Allow me to break this down for you. Sick 2020 consists of three skits, an instrumental, and four singles, two of which FINKEL dropped in advance of the album release, and those were "Looong Summer’’ and "Bleach Vial" featuring Kamakaze. The skits are all different audio bites of missed calls, inviting humor to the record and also paying homage to a couple of FINKEL's loyal friends. The closing track and skit of the Sick 2020 collection honors their Cousin Joe, who has been a collaborative partner of FINKEL's from the inception. We appreciate you, Cousin Joe, especially for being instrumental in the creation of FINKEL's super entertaining "This Weird Planet" live stream tour (if you haven't already, be sure to check that out). During the final missed call, Cousin Joe speaks from the perspective of a family member amidst the COVID19 pandemic that desperately wants the holiday to come but realizes that festivities will likely be compromised. FINKEL hopes that this track inspires listeners to call their loved ones this holiday season and remind them of how truly loved they are, especially during this hectic and anxiety-inducing year we're having.
A highlight from Sick 2020 is the track "Achoo". It plays on the weird but necessary social distance we've all needed to grant each other during the pandemic. The premise of "Achoo" stemmed from a walk Brian and Jane took in April where, as they've done a thousand of times over, they politely stepped into the street to give a passerby his space as well as checked to make sure that their masks were on securely. The stranger then told the couple that they needed to "chill out". "Achoo" was originally titled "Masked (Achoo)", and Jane couldn't help but capitalize on this moment by writing about the imperativeness that individuals make the right decisions right now, as it has a massive impact on our combined world.
Per usual, the visual art attached to Sick 2020 is beyond impressive. It seriously can't be stressed enough how wonderfully talented the duo is at seamlessly combining more than one art form into a singular mystifyingly complex artist identity. The album art features Brian and Jane behind shields, one being a literal face mask and the other, a foggy haze that envelopes them completely. The photos were shot by Erin Soorenko. The video animations were crafted by Janelle DeWitt with creative oversight from FINKEL. The idea was to capture the mood of 2020 in a 7 second loop by depicting Brian and Jane as being trapped in a hand sanitizer bottle and then eventually getting squeezed out.
I could honestly go on and on talking about the magic that is FINKEL. The duo doesn't take themselves too seriously, and Sick 2020 captures some of the vibe of this past year quite perfectly. Be sure to give it a look and a listen below.