At the time of the release of Together Alone, U2 and R.E.M. were enjoying huge commercial and critical success with their albums Achtung Baby and Automatic For The People respectively. Despite gaining deservedly similar critical success and being generally regarding as one of the main rock bands at the time, Together Alone became for some reason a commercial failure, especially in light of the album being the follow-up to the massively popular Woodface. Lousy choices of singles most have been a significant factor.
Together Alone is in many ways contradictory. The melodies are fantastic; very few albums have such abundance of catchy pop tunes. The lyrics, however, are reflective, sinister and even harrowing (Catherine Wheels). Neil Finn was obviously at the top of his game during that period. The production of the songs meanders from being soft and slick as in the opening track, Kare Kare, to becoming raw in instrumentation and singing as in the next track, In My Command. The production is still constantly experimental. The number of instruments used is not still that many, with most tracks driven by the routine guitar/bass/drums. Various sound effects and subtle use of other instruments are, however, created, adding texture to the sound. Case in point is Private Universe, a haunting song with many drum effects creating an atmospheric sonic experience.
Together Alone is in many ways not unlike the Beatles' White Album. All kinds of variances are taking place in all manners but the end result is yet as complete as pop albums are able to achieve.
From my standpoint, Together Alone is among the era's best albums and beats other Crowded House releases hands down. Neil Finn has not come close since going solo in producing anything of the same quality. Together Alone is Finn's career peak and a must have for all Crowded House fans