THE GREAT SONGWRITING partnerships all share undeniable sparks, but it's hard to pin down the specifics of what makes these symbioses so magical. The chemistry is either there, or it's not. For Michael Finn and Leo London, it's about as there as you can get.
The Domestics—Finn and London's sweet 'n' savory pop-rock project—released their self-titled debut LP in September 2014. It's a 10-song collection of textured, piano-and-guitar-swathed love odes that are so deftly written and arranged, it's hard to believe it's the band's first recording. Part of that weathered edge comes from Finn's capable production, sourced from his time as an engineer at local studio Flora Recording and Playback. It was at Flora where Finn and London first bonded, during a session a few years ago in which London, a prolific songwriter, was trying to track 10 songs in a single day.
"It never really got finished," Finn says of that recording. "But a few of those songs turned into Domestics songs when we started writing together."
After a somewhat rapid-fire gestation period, Finn and London marched out what would become their debut record in just a few months at the beginning of 2014, recording and mixing the album, and eventually releasing a song a week, starting on the Fourth of July with the appropriately titled "American Drag." During that time, the band fleshed out their previously duo-based performances to include Matt Moore on bass, Kyle Moderhak on drums, and Brad Norton on keys.
The charm of The Domestics lies in the complementary puzzle pieces in Finn and London's fantastic songs, as one writer builds malleable structures while the other effectively imparts his sonic imprint on them. There are lovelorn missives set to infectious rock 'n' roll in songs like "Jenny Says," with Finn and London's liquid harmonies only one small element in the song's overarching catchiness.
The entire album is filled with similarly contagious tunes. Whatever the synchronicity, it's working. "Leo's very prolific," says Finn. "I get at least one or two songs a week from him. I tend to write more cathartically. In a lot of ways I feel like I turn into an archivist."