Photo: Luke Fenstemaker
There's no doubt in anyone's mind that 2019 belongs to the O'Connell children. With the release of the sibling's brainchild and multi-platinum album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, international tours boasting sold-out shows, and a jaw-dropping Saturday Night Live performance, the world's spotlight has been shining directly on Billie Eilish and FINNEAS. A landmark year in pop music that will likely be written about in future music history textbooks can arguably be traced back to these creative Los Angeles homeschoolers, yet “heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
As dramatic as the prior statement is, the validity of it for this pair is undeniable. In his debut EP Blood Harmony, FINNEAS explores this concept, building a time capsule track by track that provides a personal perspective to this insane journey. The title Blood Harmony, though purposefully left ambiguous, is a nod to the sonic biological chemistry that manifests when siblings sing together, as FINNEAS shared,
"I would love for this title to remain ambiguous to listeners and for everyone to be able to imbue it with their own meaning and justification. The most common use of the term blood harmony is an English expression for what it sounds like when siblings sing together, that biologic chemistry - I think that speaks for itself."
Entirely written and produced by FINNEAS himself, Blood Harmony is a beautiful testament to the breadth of the human experience. Only broaching his 22nd year of life, Blood Harmony makes it easy to forget all the successes of 2019 and remember that through all the hype and hysteria, there is a person behind it all, reeling through the highs and lows of maturation that most 20-somethings experience.
Kicking off with the previously released single "I Lost a Friend," FINNEAS explores a personal story of losing a close companion. An emotive ballad that incorporates natural and produced sounds, distorted frequencies, and cinematic instrumentation, "I Lost A Friend" intros the project perfectly by representing the artists’ evolved sound and dedication to sharing a personal story.
As the track closes out with an essence of serenity and acceptance, we transition into the uptempo, pop-friendly bop "Shelter." Written a few years back and originally intended for the late Avicii, "Shelter" chronicles the feverish urgency of young love. The music video, released a few days prior as a teaser for the EP, showcases FINNEAS walking alongside the Los Angeles river accompanied by a group of gyrating dancers, physically representing the treacheries of which FINNEAS is seeking shelter from.
Bringing down the tempo and mood, without losing the sense of urgency, "Lost My Mind" is an ode to that rare awe-striking yet painful sense of love. One can draw whatever conclusions they want from the personal anecdotes of which this ballad pertains to, but the lyrics speak for themselves. “There’s an empty space beside me (Empty space beside me) / And I’ll keep it that way until you’re here / I need you here /There was a different face beside me (Different face beside me) / But I sent her away / ‘Cause you’re not here, here."
Moving into "I Don't Miss You At All," FINNEAS shared with Billboard, "I wanted to write a song that was entirely a lie, the way we all lie to ourselves to try to feel like we're over someone when we're definitely, definitely not." Whether this lie pertains to the details of the story itself or simply the common lies we all tell ourselves, "I Don't Miss You At All" tells a tale wanting someone back while simultaneously relinquishing a former lover. The lyrics detail snippets of a story, from a "silly fake French accent" to eyes "a shade of green that if he'd seen would make F. Scott Fitzgerald cry."
Subsequent tracks "Partners and Crimes" and "Let's Fall in Love for the Night" complement each other both lyrically and musically, quintessentially capturing what occurs when young people fall so deeply in love. As deep as these feelings can be, young love gives forth a light-hearted air to an affair - almost as if young people in love can give it all because they have so much less to lose. Musically blithesome, with heavy attention spent on the acoustic guitar, the lyrics summarize some of the most intimate nooks and crannies of youthful infatuation.
FINNEAS closes his debut with a profession. "Die Alone" was written when Los Angeles was a blazing nearly a year ago. He recalls being on tour when the fire struck but wishing he was home with his love. Background noises of burning, sirens, and people shouting accompany a soft piano, ushering in FINNEAS' musing. As he sings, his voice moves throughout the lower part of his range and on up until it explodes into euphonious harmonies.
The pull and tug of the production reflects an emotional yearning that doesn't necessarily fall into the "happy" or "sad" category but that confusing space in between. All of this leads up to his final, powerfully conclusive statement, "I wasn't looking for you / But you found me."
Listen to Blood Harmony below:
For more from FINNEAS, revisit our exclusive performance and interview with the artist below.