Finch – What It Is To Burn (1st & 2nd Press)

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Vinyl
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What It Is To Burn was pressed on vinyl by Drive-Thru Records, one of the few albums they decided to press themselves or even allow to be given the vinyl treatment. Finch’s debut album was very well received, which is probably why it was one of the few albums to actually get pressed. It was pressed on two colors both limited to 1,000 copies each. Since it’s a double LP, one color set is the first record being on teal/white swirl and the second record is on orange/white swirl, and the other color is the first record on coke bottle clear and the second record on red.

The record comes in a gatefold jacket, with liner notes printed on the inside. I have never seen liner notes/credits printed so big on any record. They must really want people to know Daryl Palumbo appears on the album. One gripe I have with the record is that the title track and song that appears in full on the album, “What It Is To Burn,” does not appear on it. At least not in its entirety, only a 30 second or so clip of the same.

In late 2012 it was announced this album was getting a re-pressing that would be ye another in the long line of Hot Topic exclusive  releases. What is the second pressing of What It Is To Burn would be practically identical, with one major upside and one major trade-off between the pressings. This second pressing features the title track in its entirety, but the cover art is pixellated. The pixellation is much like the scenario with the second pressing of Thrice’s The Artist In The Ambulance that was exclusively sold through Hot Topic, which you can read about on this blog (follow the Thrice tags or do a quick search for the album). The second pressing of What It Is To Burn is housed in a gatefold jacket and comes with something the first pressing didn’t, an insert. The layouts inside of the gatefold jacket and the spine are different between the two pressings, which you can compare in the photos below (2nd pressing photos start with the turquoise color record and move down/to the right from there. the gatefold jacket for the 1st pressing ins found to the right of the teal/white swirl& orange/white swirl record). For the second pressing there were 1500 copies pressed on opaque turquoise vinyl. The color turned out to be a marble/swirl of sorts, as there a hints of black, white and grey mixed into the turquoise.  After what seemed like a long delay for people highly anticipating this re-press for whatever reason, it was finally released in mid March 2013.

Not surprisingly, people were upset about the pixellated artwork with the second pressing. Especially since it’s not the first time it has happened with a Hot Topic exclusive. Not saying Hot Topic is solely to blame, but with all the nonsense they have pulled over the last year-year 1/2, I place part of the blame on them for accepting such an obviously horrendous product. Universal gets most of the blame for the terrible cover art. Another problem was all the center labels being printed with the wrong album title, at least the album titled being spelled incorrectly. Instead of What It Is To Burn the center labels an all four sides read “What Is It To Burn.” How that mistake got through is a joke. Whoever did the layout for this re-press should be fired.

People on a message board were so distraught over the artwork that they took it upon themselves to literally create a new variant by getting new jackets printed up. At least 50 people, but that number will definitely climb, opted to spend more money on top of the money they already spent to buy the record in the first place,  on these replacement jackets. These replacement jackets will not even re-creat the original album art in any way, which is something I will never understand. If you’re upset about the poor quality of the artwork, why would you want to get completely new artwork to replace it?

The design process was overly drawn out because a message board was involved, which added to the hilarity of the already hilarious situation. Discussion, debating and arguing went on in three separate threads, two of which were created for the sole purpose of discussing the replacement jackets. Several concepts were drawn up, some people liked those designs and there seemed to be a consensus. But then once a consensus was seemingly reached someone else came up with a slightly new design that was supported by several people. That cycle continued, and people still committed to buy a replacement jacket even though they had no clue what they would wind up getting. On top of the different artwork designed, there were also debates about other details of the jacket, ranging from whether it should be a gatefold jacket or a slip cover, whether or not it should be hand-numbered and should it be screen printed. Things got so drawn out that two separate people/places printed up their own replacement jackets and began taking orders for them.

All the replacement jacket talk aside, the second pressing did eventually sell out and combined with all the errors found with it, a third pressing was rather quickly announced and released. This third pressing has the artwork and center labels fixed, and is on black vinyl instead of the turquoise. The third pressing is limited to 1,000 copies instead of 1500. An interesting tidbit is that Hot Topic finally officially owned up to the blunder with the cover art and center labels, which resulted in a proper re-pressing, but refused to do a return/exchange with people who bought copies from the  jacked up second pressing. Yet another lame move by Hot Topic. At this point I wonder if Universal/Hot Topic purposely does this with their releases; make something wrong with it so people buy multiple copies, unknowingly buy what is essentially a defective copy and have to buy a second copy in order to have a proper copy of the record. I wouldn’t put anything past them given their track record and how quickly they step on their customers in order to make as much money as possible.

Finch also plans to do their own pressing of the album at some point . The band’s pressing will be the fourth overall pressing. Other than a brief synopsis, I am not counting the aforementioned replacement jackets for the second pressing in the pressing info, since they are not an official part of the release in any way shape or form.

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