Revived Crowdies raise the roof in time
THE title suggests thoughts of mortality are creeping into Neil Finn’s songwriting, but if age is influencing the 49- year- old’s thinking, his music, like that of all truly great songwriters, remains timeless. It’s almost 14 years since Together Alone , the album considered to be Crowded House’s swan song before Finn and bassist Nick Seymour decided to turn what was Finn’s next solo album into stage two of Crowded House’s career. It’s hard to imagine, on repeated listening, how it could have been any other way. The chiming guitar motifs that colour the end of the opening song, Nobody Wants To , could slot easily into Together Alone , the darkest and most sonically adventurous of Crowded House’s first four studio albums. That sense of continuity and timelessness is apparent on all 14 songs here, with a typical wealth of hooks and intertwining melodies oozing out of them. It’s easier to pick out the blemishes than the abundant highlights. Transit Lounge , for example, has Finn tackling an ungainly soul falsetto over cheesy funk. On the ballad You are the One to Make Me Cry , Finn’s croon is too pretty, especially when matched with the lush string arrangement. Neither song is dull, but they are surrounded by radiant jewels. Don’t Stop Now, She Called Up, Say That Again , Pour Le Monde, Walked Her Way Down and Even a Child ( co- written with Johnny Marr) are all spectacular, hook- laden pop songs, while the heavier Silent House is sullen, distorted and beautiful all at once. Three producers, three studios, four drummers and Finn’s immediate family are all listed here, but most of the credit must go to the man himself: a singer, guitarist and songwriter who finds it almost impossible to write anything approaching ordinary.