Judging from their experimental songwriting alone ("Drawing inspiration and influence from several musical realms-- a bit of prog here, some indie rock there, an occasional steel drum thrown in for good measure, Finn Riggins' sound is slippery to say the least."—Oregon Public Broadcasting), it's apparent that the band follows its own very liberal musical rulebook.
In concert with that, Vs. Wilderness, the trio's fourth record and third for Tender Loving Empire, is a compositionally complex, dirty, extra-hooky gem of an album. Its undeniably bright pop sensibility is filtered through off-kilter time signatures and surprising chord progressions that delight and amuse—Finn Riggins will get to the payoff, but they take the road less traveled to get there, no pun intended. The band, comprised of University of Idaho music department grads Cameron Bouiss (drums, steel drum, drum pad, washboard, vocals, misc.), Lisa Simpson (guitars, keys, drums, vocals, misc.) and Eric Gilbert (keys, synths, organ, accordion, sampler, guitar, vocals, misc.), have emerged from the most intense year of their career to date with their most dynamic, satisfying work yet.
This time around, like traditional touring entertainers of the '40s and '50s, Finn Riggins wrote new material geared towards their live shows while on the road, fleshed melodies out in front of crowds, road-tested songs and tweaked the details back at the studio. The album was recorded, engineered and co-produced in May of 2009 by the band at AudioLab studio, an arm of Garden City, Idaho's Visual Arts Collective (or VAC, a non-profit gallery, venue, theatre and creative space with which Finn Riggins is heavily involved) during one of their rare stints at home. True to form, the album was brought to fruition in this independently run, community-minded environment with the help of co-producer and Tender Loving Empire founder Jared Mees (who, by the way, has also toured on his own albums alongside the band.)
released by Tender Loving Empire in October 2009
released 13 October 2009
artwork, layout & design by Lloyd Winter // engineered by Eric Gilbert & Steve Fulton // mixed by Eric Gilbert & Finn Riggins with additional help from Milo Duke, Mary Packer, Steve Fulton, Sean McCormick, Jared & Brianne Mees // produced by Finn Riggins & Jared Mees // mastered by Jeff Stuart Saltzman // lyrics and music by Finn Riggins (Cameron Bouiss, Eric Gilbert, Lisa Simpson) // guest appearances by Jared Mees & Milo Duke