Fin is not so much a grand unveiling of Syd the soloist, as it is an understated project that cements her reputation an exciting, forward-thinking musician. She is, after all, one of the more intriguing artists to emerge from the pool of ‘Alternative R&B’ musicians over the last five years. Here, her solo debut is clearly influenced by the more boundary-pushing R&B records of the 90s; it is Velvet Rope-era Janet Jackson and Timbaland productions thrown in a blender with added modern electronic sensibilities. These influences drive Fin - a record that serves as a remarkably concise introduction to Syd’s solo discography.
Nothing here is too much of a drastic departure from Syd’s previous work as lead singer of The Internet, but instead a subtle continuation. Her work thus far provides a firm foundation on which Fin thrives. Songs such as ‘Smile More’ and ‘Nothin to Somethin’ are full-to-the-brim with the subtly brilliant vocal and production intricacies that so define her previous work, and ‘Dollar Bills’ is the stuff of throwback joy. Most enjoyable is ‘Know’ - a track that sounds like the younger cousin of peak-era Aaliyah. There is a clear thread that runs through these tracks - they’re quietly, subtly brilliant - lodging themselves in your brain with every listen.
The section of the musical landscape in which Syd has operated for some time has recently become incredibly crowded, but Fin is the sound of an artist that stands out amongst her contemporaries. Lyrically, and more broadly across the production of the record, there is a depth and a complexity that so often lacks in the work of the artists that operate within the same musical space.
In short, Fin is a mature, if slightly restrained debut. Unfortunately, there’s not quite enough here to get a true sense of where Syd’s long-term artistic vision will take her. Nonetheless, what Fin does, it does incredibly well - and with confidence. It’s clever, it’s fun and it’s consistently enjoyable. If Fin is viewed as an understated introduction, it serves only to heighten excitement and anticipation as to where Syd can go next.