The Wild Finish
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The Wild Finish

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Punk

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“Adult-contemporary punk” ranks among the most incongruous juxtaposition of musical genres, but the self-description of Chicago’s the Wild Finish is surprisingly apt. The trio’s Dan Precision-produced sophomore EP, The Jacket, comprises five songs in a state of flux, linked by a state of mind caught between youthful vigor and the stifling demands of adulthood. This dichotomy is elicited by the music’s aggressive, classic punk template and singer-bassist Ryan Sias’ lyrics battling between disillusionment and a yearning for more. What this results in is a feeling of striving on in spite of (or despite) often self-imposed limitations, of retaining your teen years’ ambition in the face of the responsibilities and cynicism that come with age. - Pop Matters


It’s a testament to how ingrained a band is to its locale that you can tell instantly where they’re from. Chicago’s the Wild Finish is one of those band, whose debut EP is saturated in the Midwest and carries on the tradition of the region’s punk bands that came before.
The five songs of Damn Near run the emotional gamut familiar to anyone who has grown up in the middle class haze between the coasts — general malaise, self-doubt, a yearning to achieve beyond the area’s drab confines and the life-staining regret that comes from complacence trumping your desire for escape. All too often, that longed-for getaway is found in the manner afforded by a bottle, something the quartet (lead vocalist-rhythm guitarist Ryan Sias, lead guitarist Evan Kalway, bassist Toby Schmidt and drummer Russell Ford) addresses throughout the record.

Alternately reveling in and reviling the lure of alcohol and other substances, nearly each song directly references shot livers and black-out debauchery, most overtly on opener “Kicks.” The song’s noodly guitar lines serve to belie the “third-degree suicide” chronicled here. “By 9 o’clock I’m feeling fine / Damn good reason to cut another line,” Sias sings near the beginning, the second half of the couplet changing to “Who’d’a thought I’d be dead by midnight?” when a night (or life?) of bacchanalia reaches it end.

Fugazi-esque guitar parts kick off “Eight Long Hours,” continuing the theme of idling away existence in a dead-end job, running out the clock until the solace of a drink presents itself. The centerpiece of the record, though, is smack in the middle — “Goddamnit, Anyway,” a maudlin and cathartic ode to a life wasted in stagnation, with Sias’s vocals at their most frayed and authentic. “You got a feeling that you’re going nowhere fast / You damn well should’ve known this wouldn’t last,” Sias moans early on, his rage steadily increasing in proportion to the unrealized wanderlust.

The song is a declaration that things will change and a destiny will be seized. All reassurance aside, though, there remains the ugly reality that this take-charge sentiment is but the latest in a series of drunken proclamations which will fail to see actualization. Yeah, you can choose to take the song at face value and glean an affirming message, but it’s more interesting — and decidedly more honest — to recognize the subtext. This is a song about how it’s easy as hell to set goals, but damn near impossible to achieve them. If you’re seeking the inspirational, look elsewhere.

It’s not all dour here, though. “Anne Marie” is the most lighthearted ditty here, a jubilant yet sincere pop love song. The song is also the EP’s most musically interesting, abruptly changing time signatures before the chorus takes hold: “I’m on the way to California for the first time in my life / And I don’t want to see the ocean / I got one thing on my mind / I think I’m in love with Anne Marie.” It is also the finest display of Kalway’s guitar skills, carrying Sias’s voice like ebbing and flowing waves keeping a raft afloat.

The Wild Finish’s gift with melody, catchy choruses and clever wordplay is undeniable, all attributes that harken back to Midwestern punk godfathers the Replacements. Sias’s lyrical concerns and simultaneously self-deprecating and proudly debased persona are a marriage between two of the region’s upper echelon of songwriters — Paul Westerberg of the aforementioned ‘Mats and Afghan Whig/Twilight Singer/Gutter Twin Greg Dulli.

About the only imperfection of the record is that its production sounds a bit too perfect, too polished for what befits music of this genre. A little primitivism injected into the production would go a long way. All said, Damn Near is a rousing introduction to a new band and does exactly what a debut EP should, namely, leaves you wanting more than the 16-and-a-half minutes it gives you.

The band is still working on producing physical copies of the EP, but in the meantime, the songs can be streamed at the group’s Bandcamp site here. Also of note, the Wild Finish just today came out on top of a Chicago Deli Magazine poll asking users to vote for the Windy City musical act they most wanted to see featured as the Artist of the Month. The group received 175 votes, or 35 percent, beating four other area acts. - Examiner


Have you ever put on a brand new CD by a new artist and have the music transport you back in time to when life's simple pleasures where just that, simple? Well if you're a fan of old school alternative with a dose of modern rock thrown into the mix then you're gonna love The Wild Finish! This quartet from Chicago play, what they like to call "adult contemporary punk". I'm not sure if that's quite accurate...but I'll take their word for it.

If you like jangly guitars and great pop sensibilities you gotta pick up the bands latest release "Damn Near". This EP is 5 amazingly catchy tracks of alternative rock blasts that will have you digging out your old Gin Blossoms and Soul Asylum albums. Not that this band is a knock off of those bands...far from it. They just have that kinda have that alt rock feel to em. The albums opener "Kicks" just has that 90's feel to it with it's killer guitar riffs and amazing vocal approach. But at the same time tracks like "Anne Marie" have a modern feel to em but still maintain that old school sound. I'm really digging this record.

"Eight Hours Long" is a more in your face sounding track. It's a cool song about working 9 to 5, hating your job and wondering why you're there in the first place. We've all been there. No matter how much money we make, we all hate our jobs. And these guys are no exception. The band, Ryan Sias (guitar/vocals), Evan Kalway (guitar), Toby Schmidt (bass) and Russell Ford (drums) have so much to say, and they put it into pop infused rock n roll songs for your listening pleasure. This is a surprisingly great EP by a really talented band. Being only 5 songs I really wanna hear more. But like all great bands who put out great EP's, you'll just have to wait until the next album to blow your mind with it's sonic intensity. And I have no doubt that The Wild Finish WILL blow me away when their full length is released. I just hope it's sooner that later. - Critical Mass


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

The Wild Finish are a 3-piece adult-contemporary punk band from Chicago, Illinois. They play music for people. Maybe one day you could be one of them.

Following the success of their first independent release Damn Near, the band released their sophomore EP entitled The Jacket in the Fall of 2013 to rave reviews and acclaim. Make sure to catch one of the best live shows this side of Lake Michigan as the band sets off to promote their new record!

Band Members