Had Raleigh, North Carolina’s Finger managed to break free of the anonymity it endured throughout a three-year career, the quartet would undoubtedly have stood tall in the sea of dreck. Finger (the American album reprises five cuts from the British seven-songer) is worth searching for, worth owning and doubly worth preserving. Led by singer/guitarist Brad Rice, the band demonstrates an uncanny ability to shift comfortably into and out of a number of musical styles without losing any of its identity as a sharp, learned and elastic-tight 4×4 rock’n’roll band. The opening “Alice” sounds a bit like the pre-punk sloppiness of the New York Dolls melded with the refinement of Hanoi Rocks. On “Daddy-Oh,” Finger’s reference point is the sort of slovenly southern college rock associated with Athens, Georgia. From there, songs like “Drive By” and “Vessel” head into the kind of straight-on, sincere and unfettered bash’n’crash bands like the Goo Goo Dolls hie to. Two years in the (sporadic) making, Finger is a near-perfect blend of tremendous songwriting and a gritty, muddy recording quality that keeps everything honest.
Finger contributed three numbers (“You Can Have It All” and “Out of Focus,” plus a superb remake of the album’s “Vessel”) to the UK Fish Hips and Turkey Lips compilation, which also features regional peers Small and Motorolla (later known as Motocaster). The sound is crisper than on Finger, but again the band eschews studio trickery to stay as lifelike as possible. The EP includes the toss-off instrumental “Hey Benny,” a tribute to a seemingly endless series of prank telephone calls made to a crusty southern auto salesman in the early ’80s.