The Finale - Things Can Still Get Better (Cover Artwork)

The Finale

Things Can Still Get Better (2005)

Blackout! / Creep

All too often young bands wear their influences on their sleeves. Instead of incorporating a sound, they merely seek to replicate it, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. I'm not sure if the Finale would own up to it, but their album Things Can Still Get Better plays like a reworking of the Ataris' Blue Skies, Broken Hearts…Next 12 Exits.

The Finale, much like the Ataris once did, inhabit that world of pop-punk where not every song must sound the same. They change up their tempos covering everything from fast tracks that border on skatecore to peppy mid-tempo rockers and slow-paced laments. They even move between sugar-coated ditties and darker, more aggressive pop pretty seamlessly, while the way they take advantage of having two guitarists is also nice. Both play unique parts instead of merely beefing up chord progressions, and they even use the octave chord as lead trick that the Ataris mastered.

Unfortunately, also like the Ataris, the Finale's lyrics focus almost entirely on the female sex, and while Kris Roe may not exactly have been penning poetry, he was still more mature sounding than these teens. The Finale cross over into the hyperbolic ("Give up on old flames, put them out with blood that flows out of my veins / I would bleed for you if it would make you understand that I am true," and the sophomoric, "Sometimes your words are like penicillin, and I wouldn't mind taking an extra dose of you / even if it means I would be rushed to the emergency room with a bad case of missing you") much too often, leaving you well aware of their young age.

When Things Can Still Get Better ends, you realize it's not bad, it's just that the Finale showed up late for a party that the Ataris started six years ago, and since then plenty of similar bands have stopped by and trashed the place, leaving little behind in their wake.