Fine tackles the realities of growing up with charm, wit, and a dash of hopefulness.
“23”, the first song on the Nanaimo-based band’s EP Thanks For Asking, doesn’t have many lyrics, but the message is simple, relatable and powerful. “Once upon a time/I crawled out the hole/ and I was 14/ and I was 15/ and I was 16 when I crawled back in/and no one batted an eye,” songwriter and vocalist Max Pittet sings, joined by a metaphorical chorus of those who feel just like them. Pittet brilliantly captures the hardest part of growing up in North America: the long, painful realization that there is no promise, that life is not going to be easy and nobody seems to notice you noticing these brutal truths. I think it’s why I have a slight hunch.
Over the course of six tracks the members of Fine tackle many of the realities of growing up–death, depression, trauma, love, heartbreak–with charm, wit and most impressive of all, a dash of hopefulness. On “Love Puke”, Pittet once again manages to capture all of the feelings that come with being in love in one simple pop-rock song. “I feel sinister for being loved back,” they sing, as if being in love with someone wasn’t painful enough. On the heart-wrenching and anthemic, “Peas and Carrots” Pittet writes of a love that could be saved, but one half of the equation does not have the energy to “break your back for a lover who can’t see five feet ahead”.
The gang vocals on Thanks For Asking uplift rather than disorient, like they do in guitarist Charlotte Coleman’s other band, Pale Red. Drummer Chris Thompson’s use of his symbols is novel and creates a twinkly atmosphere that elevates the scope of nearly every song. Pittet’s ability to translate their written words into song is striking and masterfully captures the utter confusion of being a young person today or any other day. Call it primitive art-rock, call it emo, call it whatever you like, but Thanks For Asking is one of the most striking and well-constructed EPs released this year.