Heinali and Matt Finney

Ain't No Night

Written by: DR on 09/08/2011 00:54:27

Just when you thought there were no darker depths than those explored on the previous release, "Conjoined", the composer from Ukraine and poet from America are it again with their recently released album, "Ain't No Night". Oh, Heinali and Matt Finney, how do you find these untouched corners of your minds?

Both of these guys are talented, that much there is no denying. Heinali has a way with instruments and Matt Finney has a way with words, but what held their previous releases (the ones I've listened to, at least) back was where one member ended and the other begun. They felt less like collaborations between Heinali and Matt Finney, and more like Heinali and Matt Finney (or vice-versa). The Ukrainian would compose something, then the Alabaman would lay his poems down on top; or the Alabaman would lay down his words, and the Ukrainian would compose something to go underneath them without ever being too brash as to distract from them.

Something must have clicked during the writing of "Ain't No Night", because the duo now genuinely feel in sync with one another, like each member has had more influence in the direction of the other's contribution, and therefore the songs as a whole, and as a result, they're beginning to realise their potential together.

Eleven-minute opener "In All Directions" begins as you might expect: quiet static-y effects set the stage for Finney's drawly voice; it's as Matt Finney as we've come to expect Matt Finney to sound: disillusioned, dejected, isolated and always scathing. Typically, a lot of ambient guitar noise is utilized to create a bleak soundscape, as we've come to expect of Heinali, except he is being far more ambitious with his compositions by including post-rock-ish textures in the background and piano-work that creates vague feelings of hope amidst the soundscape. Before, the compositions were solid, even good, but they showed an artist with a clearly-defined comfort zone. However, he's now being more ambitious, using more instruments and more tones to create texturally rich compositions. The thing is, that song is the weakest on the album, but it stands as a testament to how they've matured that they keep you completely engaged through its entire run.

Title-track "Ain't No Night" is one of the most powerful listening experiences of the year so far, and arguably their best song yet. It begins with a winding, wailing wall of guitar-sound and booming drums echoing below it; quiet, twanging southern-Americana textures punctuate those walls, which allows Finney to build tension with his lyrics, drawing the unsuspecting listener in for Heinali's loud and thunderous release. Closer "Hallelujah" is a further departure away from their usual sound, and successfully so, containing slow-burning ballad-qualities where a piano dominates the impressive composition, relegating the solemn effects and guitar noise to the background.

Having established what they're good at on previous releases, with "Ain't No Night" this duo are stepping out of their comfort zone and the result is gripping. Taken as a whole, you can hear the progression and maturation of these guys as you listen to this album from start to finish. From the fairly typical opening track to the closing stages of a song as ambitious and meticulously constructed as "Hallelujah", there's a confidence and authority with which Heinali and Matt Finney are now executing their ideas. I don't know how or where they continue to find these corners of their minds, but we should just be grateful they're sharing them with us.


Download: Ain't No Night, Hallelujah
For The Fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Blueneck, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 01.08.2011
Paradigms Recordings

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