London Islington Hope & Anchor

Incoherent, but with a sad-eyed melancholy pounding where their hearts should be.

As grinding waves of post-[a]Mogwai[/a] noise ripple through the air, ceiling-scraping guitarist Chris picks up the Fisher-Price melodica and trills a nagging little tune. The song promptly implodes, and the assorted members of this London five-piece scour through the wreckage to piece together a jagged, jerky sliver of overeducated Fall-esque fizz, before collapsing entirely and tearing into a yelping, careering hardcore blitz that sounds, uncannily, like Blur [I]think[/I] they sound when they think they sound like Pavement.

That’s the first three songs, then: Finlay‘s restless, barbed pop scrawl writhing and lashing about like a nutter in a straitjacket, doing itself untold damage and gouging the odd punter. Graduates of the College Of College Rock, proudly showing off the leather elbow-patches on their plaid shirts, Finlay have thrown all their textbooks on the bonfire and are dancing in the embers. Just check out debut ‘Little Dancing Solos’, where singer/guitarist Adam drawls his way through the lyrics, as detuned guitars lunge and squeal beside him.

Finlay are thirsty, rabid pop-dogs all hepped up on broken-necked melodies and inexplicable crashes of noise. Incoherent, but with a sad-eyed melancholy pounding where their hearts should be. Devotees of that knife-edge strip between madness and genius should turn their attentions here.