Finnogun’s Wake is the delightful portmanteau of a band fronted by Shogun (vocalist of Royal Headache, and later Shogun and the Sheets) and newcomer Finn Berzin. Decades apart in age but united in tutelage and outlook, they have mitigated the Joycean tome of What To Do Now, and crafted the four debut songs of the Stay Young EP from the inside out, sharing the spotlight for a riveting, deafening smear of melodic pop and buzzsaw guitars.
Mourning the departure of his best mate to a life overseas, Shogun started hanging out with his friend’s younger brother, Finn. The two of them started spending their free time together, one having seen a fair chunk of the world through music, the other just starting to figure it all out. They went through the essential lessons that could be gleaned from Definitely Maybe and Hüsker Dü, Finn got himself a guitar, and the songs simply fell out of both of them, with this initial batch as the result. Shogun sings on “Blue Skies” and “Strawberry Avalanche,” and Finn takes the lead on “So Nice” and “Lovers All,” and while there’s no mistaking Shogun’s striking delivery and fatalistic lyrics, Finn proves himself as a carousing foil, holding his ground like the natural he’s become.
Taking into account the fevered, quick-burning success of Royal Headache, this group is the most likely candidate to do it all again, giving the sense that some people can write bounding guitar leads that stick to you like burrs from the brush, and sing so effortlessly you’re embarrassed and a little mad about how great it all sounds. Backed on these recordings by keyboardist Gabrielle De Giorgio (a longtime collaborator of Shogun’s from back in the Sheets era), bassist Campbell Troy (who was in Shogun’s first hardcore band Nintendo Police back in the mid ‘90s), and DMA’s drummer Liam Hoskins (on some COVID-enforced boredom with no tour-dom), Finn and Shogun stare down a changed world from two very distinct poles, and aim to fill it with glorious songs just like these.