Being young is a challenge in itself. It is a purgatory between the sobering moment of adulthood and youthful rebellion. Tono & The Finance Company are a refresher course on the joys and pitfalls of being young. Their album Up Here For Dancing is like an excerpt from the diary of a young person. The band, which has its roots in Dunedin but has a lineup that includes members from Auckland, is fronted by the endearing Anthonie Tonnon. The album which was recorded in Dunedin, is a chapter all about youthful melancholy.
The album could be best described as positively downtrodden. It manages to capture both fear and hope, in a way that tangles the two together to generate a sense of apathy. Up Here For Dancing is built up with the buoyancy of being down and out, but not caring.
Bringing in the album is 'Multiple Lives' a breezy and slow pop melody. Tonnon is arresting in his sincerity. His voice is trustworthy and you cannot help but feel for him and follow him through to the end of this album. Tracks such as 'Timing' and the title track 'Up Here For Dancing, Down Here For Thinking' swing you into an upbeat direction. But before you know it you slip back into the precarious and the vulnerable.
A song about modern romance is 'Skinny Jeans.' The song is strung together with a guitar that strums across a hipster indifference, all about the perils of trying to get your skinny jeans off. Its simple in its subject, but what Tonnon does is make a mundane task poetic in his lyrics. Tonnon gets creative again in 'Eating Biscuits,' a song about regrets. Here he accurately captures the pain of lost dreams and lost love.
The highlight on the album has to be the closing track 'Twenty Three' which sums up all of the insecurities of not knowing what the big, bad future holds.
The album's strength lies in its carefree lyrics, which are in turn bound by the formulaic pop melodies. This is not a bad thing as its familiarity makes it easily consumed by the ears. Up Here For Dancing is a clever wee album, which clearly showcases the talents and creativity of Tonnon. He is certainly gifted in his narration and has an interesting way of capturing your imagination. What will be most interesting will be how he develops his work over time. What will the next chapter of the diary of Tono & the Finance Company hold? Stay tuned.
Tono is Anthonie Tonnon, a Dunedin-raised songwriter currently living in Auckland. Tono and his band, The Finance Company, make luscious pop music with wry social observations and transcendent characters from the everyday. Tono and the Finance Company have released two critically acclaimed EPs, Love and Economics and Fragile Thing. Tono has toured throughout New Zealand several times, both and solo and with the Finance company, including a tour with The Verlaines in 2010. He also embarked on a solo jaunt of Melbourne in 2009.
Fragile Thing is now out in stores on Border music, and online thanks to DRM.