The Finalists

21st May 2021 –

“Hunting Knife” is the third single to be released from The Finalists’ debut album First. “Hunting Knife” finds the band digging into a big bright sound that showcases their love of chiming and dreamy guitars, lively drums, melodic bass lines and hooks aplenty. Across its three minutes, songwriter Mark Tobin sings of a catastrophist who starts smoking again because he believes the world will end before he gets cancer.

“‘Hunting Knife’ is a delight: imbued with an antipodean sense of humour and gentleness that flows in the blood of the Flying Nun bands such as The Chills and The Bats and, over the ditch, The Go-Betweens and The Apartments. Lyrical poetry carried melodically on the back of a warm and shimmering sound.” – Backseat Mafia


It’s Sydney in the year 2020 and for the last two years The Finalists have been honing their sound beneath a Waterloo tin roof, in a Petersham attic, and down long, polished corridors leading to a Marrickville practice room. The results are the musical amalgamation of singer/guitarist and songwriter Mark Tobin (Scarlet, Panic Syndrome, The Black Halo), guitarist Robert Young (The Wednesday Night, Semi Lemon Kola), bassist Chris Familton (Charlie Horse, Thorazine Shuffle) and drummer Matt Brown (Charlie Horse).

The Finalists’ debut single, ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)’, a featured single of the week on 2SER 107.3FM, was an understated slice of melodic melancholia, draped in acoustic and electric guitars that sparkled and gently jangled over rolling bass and Velvet Underground meets The Ronettes drums. In contrast, ‘Learn To Live Without You’, a concise and infectious, garage and jangle-pop guitar nugget, harks back to the golden age of the two and half minute pop song.

The song bursts into view on the back of a psychedelic intro before the drums strike a declamatory beat and 6 & 12-string guitars strum and chime in unison as Mark Tobin paints an optimistic picture of a broken relationship. The Beatles, R.E.M. and The Byrds in the Paisley Underground.

Tobin wrote most of this song in one afternoon on a 12-string acoustic guitar but as he explains, the song really came alive once they started playing it as a band. “The more we played it, the more psychedelic it became. We shamelessly channelled our heroes, The Beatles and The Byrds, and covered the song with 12-string guitars, Ringo style drums and harmonies. This song, like many others, is about the impermanence of relationships, and the realisation that sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent an imminent painful loss.”

With a sound that draws on the band’s collective music history playing in a number of bands in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, they’ve concocted a blend of jangly guitar-based indie rock, with elements of psych-rock, shoegaze and post-punk threading through the music. You can hear the ghosts of Factory and Flying Nun Records, the evocative strains of The Go Betweens and The Smiths and other Antipodean contemporaries such as Underground Lovers, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and RVG. On their debut album, the twin totems of melody and melancholy course through the sparkling and shimmering guitar lines. Elsewhere the group take flight in Sonic Youth-inspired six-string explorations.

The songs of The Finalists are predominately written by Tobin, with Young and Familton adding colour, shape, rhythm and texture. Tobin’s lyrics capture and reflect on the contemporary human experience with astute and measured poeticism – whether it’s the chronicling of fractured relationships, navigating the modern world or writing about a catastrophist who starts smoking again because he believes the world will end before he gets cancer.

Debut album FIRST out Friday 6th November


Hunting Knife

Learn To Live Without You

Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)

Buy Music


Out 6th November

Hunting Knife
released 21st May 2021

Learn To Live Without You – single

Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone) – single


“Hunting Knife” review by Nathan Jolly, The Guardian June 2021

Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone) has been getting a whole lot of deserved attention…
• Added to 2SER singles playlist, Airplay on Chimes with Paul Gough on 2SER, The Outpost on 2SER and the new show The Tuckshop on 2SER
• “Understated Oz pop that’s perfectly at home in the Half a Cow stable.” –
• “The simple, shimmering and reflective tone of the delightful single ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)’ from Sydney band The Finalists is now beautifully matched by a laid back, black and white video treatment showcasing the band, all shadowy and enigmatic” –
• VIDEO PREMIERE: The Finalists – ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone) ”If you have something important to say you should never pull your punches out of fear of a backlash.” –
• Multiple airplay on Radio Adelaide SA
• Airplay on New Grooves on 96.5 Inner FM in Melbourne
• Airplay on Fleurieu FM in SA
• Airplay on It’s A Jangle Out There on MainFM in Castlemaine


First  (hac245)

Produced, recorded and mixed by Bob de Freitas at Bob’s Sensatory Laundry in Waterloo, NSW.
Written & arranged by Mark Tobin/The Finalists
Mark Tobin – vocals, acoustic, electric & 12-string guitars
Robert Young – electric guitar, keyboards, drum programming
Chris Familton – bass guitar
Matt Brown – drums
Artwork by Bob de Freitas