Many know the 17-year-old rising musician Billie Eilish from her successful debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which was released in the spring of this year.
With her energetic stage jumps, versatile voice that somehow manages to bring a sense of solemnity to even her fast-paced tracks, iconic collaborations with artists like Takashi Murakami, as well as her bold fashion statements, it is impossible to ignore the influence the 17-year-old has had on this generation.
However, few know of her older brother, Finneas O’Connell (musically known as FINNEAS), who is the co-writer of When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Much to my surprise, the two siblings almost evenly co-wrote Eilish’s album, with FINNEAS sometimes even writing songs such as “when the party’s over” entirely on his own.
The musicians considered performing as a duo but ultimately decided against it due to concerns about the relatively poor success of duos in the music industry.
Regardless, FINNEAS still performs with Eilish on stage as she tours for her newest album release.
Little to no artistic credit can be given outside of the pair. Eilish’s album was independently produced within the comfort of the family’s home. Eilish even recorded a great portion of her vocals while sitting on her brother’s bed.
Continuing the remarkable act of independent music production, FINNEAS released his own debut EP, Blood Harmony, this past Friday. As FINNEAS, himself, explained, Blood Harmony is about familial bonds:
“The most common use of the term ‘blood harmony’ is an English expression for what it sounds like when siblings sing together, that biologic chemistry,” he explained in an article published by Genius.
And though many stylistic pieces within Eilish’s debut album do appear in FINNEAS’ EP, (including vocal harmonies and the unmistakable use of distorted bass), the story and tone of Blood Harmony is all FINNEAS’.
Whereas Billie’s album was dark and sometimes eerie, FINNEAS’ EP is bright and soothing.
This contrast starts early on in the soft opening piano chords of “I Lost a Friend,” as FINNEAS conveys and reflects on bygone sadness and frustration.
The chords are layered with a soft melody that culminates in brief climaxes before ultimately resolving on its own.
The EP then shifts into the more upbeat “Shelter,” which describes a desire to end up someone else’s arms. As “Lost My Mind” builds in speed and volume, so do the feelings of apparent obsession and desire.
“I Don’t Miss You at All” is a catchy and vain attempt to deny this obsession, and “Partners and Crime” utilizes a rhythmic guitar riff to follow the process of moving on from someone.
Highlighting the versatility of FINNEAS’ soulful voice, from his singing to his relaxed rapping, “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night” fantasizes about an infatuation.
Ending the EP is “Die Alone,” a close-your-eyes kind of song with a masterful mix of quiet sirens and helicopters.
Coupled with a tranquil piano background, “Die Alone” transfers the listener to another world and reveals that your body and mind work hard to be wherever your heart is.
As an individual, FINNEAS is a romantic. On the day he first met his current girlfriend, Claudia, he wrote a song about her titled “Claudia” and then sent it to her.
As an artist, Finneas O’Connell is someone who is sensitive to a very full range of emotions and is not afraid to fully express himself in his music.
His experiences in love and loss are portrayed in Blood Harmony with vulnerability in a way that’s beautiful and honest. Yet his songs are still notably cool and catchy, and I believe he deserves much more of our attention.
Though a good portion of his fame and notability may be derived from the fact that he is related to Billie Eilish, his newest release proves that he deserves to be known and respected regardless of this association.