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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Finch's primal 'screamo' is heavy on the melodrama

March 04, 2003|Lina Lecaro | Special to The Times

It's hard to distinguish one whiny, tattooed pop punk-emo band from the next lately, but a new crop of young rascals is infusing emotional aggression and erratic arrangements into feisty melodies to create something altogether more passionate. An English music weekly recently coined the term "screamo" to describe these heavier, heartfelt rockers, and Temecula-based Finch, which expelled its demons to a sold-out crowd at the Palace on Sunday, is obviously set to emerge from this more pulverizing pack.

Like Glassjaw and the Used, the band alternates between soothing croons and throat-burning wails, metallic riffs and bubbly beats -- a marriage that kept things interesting Sunday, even if the shifts weren't always seamless. Frontman Nate Barcalow showed himself to be a versatile vocalist on tunes from Finch's album "What It Is to Burn," but his range didn't quite make up for his lack of charisma.

Although Finch's angst-filled anthems really seemed to strike a chord with the youthful Palace crowd (their soaring choruses were amplified by fan sing-alongs and enlivened by restless crowd-surfers through the entire set), it's too melodramatic for anyone over, oh, 25. Still, the band is just beginning to ripen, and if its brazen style can evolve and mature with its followers, Finch has a future.

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