In 2021 Goth-Ick/Unscene and Tigersquawk Records released Putting the Stars Right – An album to benefit the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council. Among the songs from various artists is Final’s “I Am the Dirt Under Your Fingernails”, a throbbing and vaguely dreamy bit of music. It’d not be difficult to think that I Am the Dirt Under Your Fingernails (henceforth IATDUYF) would continue in the same vein, but the tracks here feel less electronic and perhaps less aggressive. Maybe it is a continuation of that song in some manner. Maybe it is not.

IATDUYF opens with low and muted noise. It’s a relaxing start and remains as such when something akin to guitar makes its own gentle steps. From there the album moves through different, yet connected stages. Sometimes it sounds like it’s stretching whilst remaining unchanging. Sometimes there’s more of a sense of gentler flow and change. However, throughout a strong focus on expressiveness remains constant.

Throughout IATDUYF mood shifts and gradually captures, and perhaps that’s borne from the album not necessarily trying to be immediate. In a way it says “Here is what this is about”, but it takes time to allow each piece to sink in. All the calm, frustration, reflection, anger, contemplation and sadness permeates with ease. It’s music that hits hard without the attack; It hangs heavy without dragging you down.

A few pieces feature silence, or at least an implication of silence at their end. Maybe it has something to do with an idea of rest or reflection, or maybe it’s to let the pieces linger beyond their fading out. Maybe it ties into the title somehow; maybe it doesn’t.

Speaking of, the phrase “I Am the Dirt Under Your Fingernails” could mean a lot of things. It could refer to what has come before and what that provides. Maybe the album’s expressiveness ties into the title to say that you can let emotions guide your actions more than you think they do.

Maybe the title and silences don’t mean anything at all.

In a way IATDUYF fits with Expect Nothing… and It Comes to us All. There’s familiarity in sound and form between the three, but beyond that this one works well enough on its own. You can focus on what is happening; you can let it engulf you without it smothering. You can just as easily put it on in the background and let it move over you that way. The album is an atmospheric release that expresses effectively, regardless of if you’re listening to it actively or passively.

I Am The Dirt Under Your Fingernails is available here.