For a comparatively small country, New Zealand has often been at the forefront of new music. From the revolutionary pop stylings of Lorde, and the comedy masterclasses of Flight of the Conchords, to the jazz-meets-pop nuances of Kimbra, and the 80’s-defining sound of Crowded House, Kiwis have long been a source of great music from genuinely talented individuals. Now, that proud tradition continues with Harper Finn — son of Tim Finn, of Split Enz and Crowded House fame — and his debut EP, NEWCOMER, which released today.

Without hyperbole, Harper Finn’s NEWCOMER is one of the most exciting pieces of music to come out this year. Each track is like a well-crafted story and a showcase for Finn’s musical prowess. From the absolute banger of an opener, “Dark Side of Summer,” Finn commands listeners’ attentions through a diverse array of songs that could have been hits anywhere between the 1980’s and now. The pointed bass-line on “Different Skies” screams of U2, while “She Said” has addictive beats that wouldn’t sound misplaced on one of Post Malone’s mellower tracks. Like The Weeknd’s recent hits, Finn isn’t afraid to delve into the plethora of sounds from the 1980’s electronica scene, specifically evident on the Pet Shop Boys-inspired “Runway” and the Wendy Carlos-meets-Queen synth anthem “Dance Away These Days.” It’s an impressive array of inspiration from Finn, who says of the EP:

“The idea of it being my first solid body of work to go out and to encapsulate that feeling of being the new person. You’re looking around and seeing how you fit in, or sometimes just trying to find your place amongst it all, because that stuff can be quite intimidating.”

NEWCOMER is an especially impressive debut for its mature range of sound from such a relatively young musician — the songs’ lyrics about heartache and joy are incredibly poetic and almost theatrical in their delivery. In addition, Finn’s singing style can sound as pleasantly rough as Jared Leto’s vocals or as commanding as Billie Eilish’s tones — as seen on tracks like “Euphoria,” he knows exactly when to sing soft or loud for the best impact. And two of NEWCOMER‘s best songs, “Conversations (With the Moon)” and “Good For Me,” merge everything that makes Finn stand out as an up-and-coming artist — a mix of atonal piano akin to Evanescence’s very early work, warm melodies that would make Paul McCartney proud and aching Coldplay-like lyrics, all wrapped up in a style that sounds like 90’s alt-rock with a modern pop bent.

If one is looking for a new, versatile artist to obsess over, listeners would do well to check out Harper Finn’s NEWCOMER — which released today — right now. You can learn more about Finn and his music here, and you should definitely listen to his full, impressive debut EP below!

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