With so many variations of the rock sound bleeding through our radios this past year, it’s no wonder a band like Finch is hard to categorize. One classification, however, is that they are no more electrifying than any other post-hard core or nu-metal band spending time in the studio. With a wide range of sounds from emo to hardcore, the band is stuck in mediocre middle ground that may appease a music fan with a watered-down appetite for radio rock.

The Temecula-based five-some consists of singer Nate Barcalow, guitarists Randy Stohmeyer and Alex Linares, bassist Derek Doherty and drummer Alex Pappas. They credit themselves as playing the music they like, regardless of genre compatibility. Finch’s first single, Letters to You (the featured download on their website) is a marriage of their emo passion with their hardcore angst. But the result is neither as catchy as Weezer nor anger-driven as Black Flag.

Determination and persistence are virtues to be cherished in the music industry. As a long time fan of Drive-Thru Records, Strohemeyer developed a relationship that later paid off for his band. When they were confident in their abilities, Strohemeyer contacted Richard Reines, owner of the Drive-Thru, and wooed him at an audition. Now Finch is part of the indie family that includes the likes of The Movie Life, New Found Glory and Something Corporate.

Like their siblings, Finch bounces from power ballad to hard rock on their debut album What it is to Burn. On the border of a concept album, the lyrics read like excerpts from letters involving broken hearts and painful memories. But unlike some bands bursting on to the scene in recent months, Finch feels they are beyond that label. Alternative Press (July, 2002) quoted front-man Barcalow as stating, “Personally, I wouldn’t be offended if somebody called us a punk rock band; I just wouldn’t agree. When I hear that term [punk rock], I immediately think of the Descendents and Black Flag. I don’t think a lot of music today calling itself punk is really punk.”

Meanstreet Magazine called the band; “today’s best-kept secret…” but the addition of Finch in the regular rotation on KROQ would be revealing nothing new to their regular audiences. They may become the next big hit on any station, with their musical diversity, but growth and individuality will be needed to keep them from being lumped into the one-hit wonder category.