Finger Eleven: Them vs. You vs. Me
by: Jeff Hightower
Back to the Nest...
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From opening track to end, Finger Eleven has done what few other hard rock band have been able to do. They've married various styles such as funk and synth rock to their hard rock roots. From the opening track and first release, "Paralizer", they hit the floor running with a groove filled funk mix with strong vocal presentation to blend a sound similar to that of the early 80's, to a modern rock feel. And then with a shot out of left field lead singer Scott Anderson hits you with a combination of his hard gravel voice and a beautiful falsetto that creates a diverse image to the hard bottom ended sound of "Falling On". The band brings it down with a combination of synthesizers and acoustic guitars to bring you "I'll Keep Your Memory Vague". It follows the age old system of keeping things simple to create a very poignant song with a traditional feel that always pays off. As an end result, they have a tune that will fill stadiums with countless lighters. And with any follow up to a ballad, you need a driving groove rock song. That's what you find in "Lost My Way". This song hits with a very commercial feel but not sacrificing the driving sound that Finger Eleven is known for. The bass playing of Sean Anderson in tandem with Rich Beddoe's drumming give it as strong a foundation as you can find in rock today. The breaks are epic, and the guitars move the song forward like a title wave. "So-So Suicide" rides the wave of James Black and Rick Jackett's guitar playing, reminding me of that classic 70's guitar riffing crossed with today's rough grinding hard rock. It's a very tight blend of both, mixing sounds similar to Blackfoot with other bands of today, like their label-mates Evanescence. It screams raw power. They then turn around with, "Window Song" and strike a sound very reminiscent of Pink Floyd. It's a very eclectic song with a structure to the madness. Orchestrated with the precision of a surgeon, the result is a very melodic song that hypnotizes and draws you in. And after you've found that peaceful place, they jerk you right out with a brilliantly choreographed guitar intro leading into their usual driving rock sound with "Sense of a Spark". "Talking to the Walls is another example of Anderson's vocal abilities. The hook is catchy and it has all the features of a hit for the Mtv crowd. And as for taking it up another notch the band hits you with "Change the World", a brooding ballad that builds to a crescendo of epic proportions. With a piano accompaniment and solo acoustic guitar break mixed in with great symphonic effect, it could quite literally be the one of the best ballad of the modern rock era. And once again, mixing their funk/groove with a hard rock feel on "Gather & Give", we get to hear the dynamics that round out Finger Eleven as more that just your average rock band. As they close out the album, with a driving classic rock sounds in "Easy Life" that just screams to the teen angst in us all, they completed the next phase of Finger Eleven. In summary, Finger Eleven delivers a diverse album with various types of songs, but never straying from who they are. This has to be one of the most powerful albums of the new millennium from a hard rock band. It delivers rage and power with a helping of groove and mellowness. These guys stepped up to the plate and took the next level in their evolution as one of the next big things in rock-n-roll. "Them vs. You vs. Me" knocks it out of the park and will stay in my cd player for a long time. Check them out at http://www.fingereleven.com or http://www.myspace.com/fingereleven. Where you can hear samples of the album itself and then rush out to store March 6 to pick up this refreshingly new album from one of Wind-Up Records core bands. Track List: 1. Paralizer 2. Falling On 3. I'll Keep Your Memory Vague 4. Lost My Way 5. So-so Suicide 6. Window Song 7. Sense of a Spark 8. Talking to the Walls 9. Change the World 10. Gather & Give 11. Easy Life