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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blissful, Swoonsome Pop
After obtaining an advance copy of this I feel I've now played it enough to offer my reflections on its merits.

It gets off to a great start with the melodic pop of `Nobody Wants To' followed by the lead off single `Don't Stop Now'. The latter is chockfull of lovely hooks and chiming guitars and is propelled by a great Nick Seymour bass line. Absolutely...
Published on 9 Jun. 2007 by G. J. Oxley

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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The band stands together, alone, and all grown up.
I agree with Gaz. Brilliant review. I just played the album to my husband who wasn't completely impressed with the earlier albums (except Woodface). He really digs this record and as I am a huge fan and he isn't, trust me this is really saying something for him to like it too! I am also impressed with how much I LOVE this album compared to, say, the last Finn brothers...
Published on 4 July 2007 by Josie K


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blissful, Swoonsome Pop, 9 Jun. 2007
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
After obtaining an advance copy of this I feel I've now played it enough to offer my reflections on its merits.

It gets off to a great start with the melodic pop of `Nobody Wants To' followed by the lead off single `Don't Stop Now'. The latter is chockfull of lovely hooks and chiming guitars and is propelled by a great Nick Seymour bass line. Absolutely classic stuff!

After hearing the Real World Studio webcast and Thekla live run outs I thought the brooding, folky 'Silent House' (co-written by Neil with the Dixie Chicks) would become my favourite track. However, great though that song is, there are such musical riches on this album that any of four or five others could be.

Up there among the best is the beautiful, Lennonesque `Pour Le Monde' (`For the World'). This piano-led composition features one of Neil's best ever lyrics and promises to become an emotional stage favourite to rival `Don't Dream it's Over'.

Elsewhere `Even a Child', `Walked Her Way Down' and `Transit Lounge' provide further evidence of Neil's gift for writing totally original tunes that you feel you've heard before - but haven't. Instantly likeable, the former two in particular have not left my head all week.

In places the atmospheric production (two producers are at work here) recalls the outstanding job Youth did on `Together Alone'. The remarkable, shimmering beauty of `A Sigh' and the more up-tempo `English Trees' could have slotted on - and enhanced - that fine album.

Being Crowded House, amidst the classic tracks there's one or two that just don't cut it. For me `She Called Up' (part 'The Munsters' theme tune, part Elvis's 'Burning Love') and the dreary, tune-free `Heaven That I'm Making' should have been left off the album. At around 59 minutes/14 tracks long they could have been ditched without short-changing the customer.

That minor quibble aside, Neil is in fantastic voice here - in fact, as good as he's ever sounded. His falsetto on the chorus to the affecting `You Are the One To Made Me Cry' elevates an excellent song to the level of a minor masterpiece. Smokey Robinson eat your heart out!

The album ends with the fantastic, psychedelic `People are Like Suns'. This would have fitted on any Beatles album from `Pepper' to `Abbey Road' with its slowed-down strings and slightly off-kilter piano. It's probably Neil's most obvious ever nod to the Fab Four's musical legacy.

At times `Time on Earth' manages to sound more like a Neil Finn solo album than Crowded House, but given its recording history that is hardly surprising.

Fortunately the standard of Neil's songwriting here easily surpasses that found on his two lacklustre solo efforts, `Try Whistling This' and `One Nil'

I have spoken at length about Neil Finn's contribution to `Time on Earth' (as he wrote the majority of it solo and is lead singer that's hardly surprising!), but this album would be poorer if not for the fine talents of those two Crowded House stalwarts, bassist Nick Seymour and multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart, who also contribute some fine harmony vocals.

Ex-Beck drummer Matt Sherrod (among others) does a fine job with the sticks and the production by Ethan Johns and Steve Lilywhite is never intrusive and perfectly captures the album's many moods and styles. Throw in the typically fluid, ringing guitar of Johnny Marr on two tracks: 'Only A Child' (which he co-wrote) and 'Don't Stop Now' and you have an uplifting listening experience

In summing-up, this album could have been a total mess, but instead it's an absolute triumph. Whisper it, but it may well be the most consistently excellent album of Neil Finn's career.

The only sad thing is that Paul Hester never lived to play on it - that would have made this album perfect.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant in its own right, 16 July 2007
By 
M. Bowers (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
Many reviewers (with obvious justification) are looking to compare this latest album with CH's and Neil's previous work. At times, the comparisons are, for me, fairly obvious. 'You Are The One To Make Me Cry' is very reminiscent of 'All I Ask', given the slow-paced, mellow string arrangement, but if anything it's better, due to a glorious vocal and somehow sounding even more mellifluous. Then there's the brooding, dark bass line at the end of 'Silent House', with a layer of crunching rock guitar, which has a similar feel to the rock-out ending of 'Suffer Never' from the Finn Brothers album, particularly if you've seen it performed live.

For me, though, the most meaningful comparison to make is to contemporary albums from the likes of, say, Travis or Coldplay. And, quite frankly, this album just blows them away, even though I'm personally a fan of both bands. Chris Martin talks of four-part harmonies on 'Fix You', but Neil, Nick, Mark and Matt just get on and do it, seamlessly and effortlessly, on practically every track. Rarely in recent years has a band managed to produce such a soundscape. Neil Finn is unquestionably one of the best songwriters alive, and his gift is in matching the feel and mood of the sound, sometimes in contrasting ways, to the depth of the lyrics.

After a few plays, all the new hooks fill your head. Even though it's one of the darkest, moodiest and arguably even the most plodding CH song you'll hear, 'Say That Again' is aural magic. 'She Called Up' was a necessity on this album, with its kicking, stomping tomfoolery - it's what Hester would have done had he still been with us, the 'Sister Madly' of the new album. 'Even A Child' rings out in my head several times a day, and 'Silent House' is poignant for me, as one of the kindest, warmest people I ever knew contracted Alzheimer's and became a shadow of his former self - exactly the theme, and mood, of the track.

Listen to this a few times and it all makes sense, and is instantly one of the best albums in years. I'm just delighted to see them back, as I became a fan the moment they were splitting up - and I'll finally get to see them live (albeit without a wonderful missing musician).

Incidentally, I disagree with Adam's review below. I have a very good Arcam hi-fi separates set up, and this album comes across with well separated instruments, rich bass and plenty of musical nuances. I suggest he upgrades his equipment if he thinks this album has been poorly produced or engineered.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I almost gave up on this after the first listen...., 28 July 2007
By 
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
To be honest I am terrible at listening to anything and "getting it" on the first listen and I was dangerously close to writing this album off.

When I first put it on in the car it poured fourth to me like a homogenous large dollop of 'Together Alone'-esque gloop. Not a single song stood out and I was greatly disappointed.

But just before I replaced it with my Snow Patrol, Killers and Springsteen discs I put it back on again and became quite fond of Tracks 1, 2 and 3. Then 4. Then 6. And so it went on.

Now I love it. If you are an ex-Crowdie get on board again!

RIP Paul.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes a while..,, 6 July 2007
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
At first listen I wasn't blown away by this album, but I suspect I would have said the same for my first listens to their previous album "Together Alone". Of course now I can't imagine not knowing and loving those songs - it's up there as possibly my most listened to/favorite album ever.

So Time On Earth is slow burner, but after a three or four listens some great songs really shine through. However this album doesn't quite hang together as well as Together Alone though. That's probably partly due to this starting out as a Neil Finn solo album that morphed into a Crowded House along the way. Fans will be able to spot song styles and sound palettes from all CH's previous albums, again giving a slightly uneven feel to the proceedings.

Don't get me wrong, I love this album, it's just not quite in the same league as "Together Alone". But any new Crowded House song is a welcome thing and the rumours are that the whole band will be working on the next album together. In the mean time, you'll be humming tunes from this for months to come.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Burner, 1 July 2007
By 
Sister Madly (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
As the gentle hooks of Mr Finns Music slowly engulf you, you thank yourself again and again for this fantastic collection of songs.

Whilst this does not reach the dizzy heights of Temple of low men or Together alone as a whole there are patches of brilliance here.

Matt Sherrod does a great job of filling the late great Paul Hester's shoes, Paul was indeed a great musician as are all of the Crowded House band.

Highlights include the single Don't stop now, Pour le Monde and surely the second single She called up.

Don't be disappointed on a first listen your patience will be duly rewarded.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Legacy intact - the nearly wholly majestic return of Crowded House, 6 Mar. 2008
By 
Andy Sweeney "music was my first love" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
It's always a difficult decision to revisit and attempt to re-create something that was very special indeed. The re-formed Crowded House, now comprising of Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Mark Hart and new member Matt Sherrod, replacing the late Paul Hester, made that particular decision and many fans held their collective breath to see how Neil Finn, who has had a rather inconsistent solo career, would add to or damage the legacy of the 'Sacred Cow' that is Crowded House.

Well, perhaps they shouldn't have worried. Time On Earth, Crowded House's first album since 1993's Together Alone, is largely excellent. Although there are songs which sound a little like very good Neil Finn solo tracks, there are at least a handful of songs such as the brilliant She Called Up, Walked Her Way Down and Even A Child which sound every bit like Crowded House as Mean To Me or Something So Strong. Not everything on Time On Earth is instant though. You won't get as much out of this album on the first listen as you will on, say, the fifth and, even then, subsequent listening sessions will reveal more and more of this multi-layered and richly textured album, just as Together Alone rewarded repeated playbacks.

A big highlight of the album is Pour Le Monde, which was inspired by an anti-Iraq war demonstration march in Paris in which the protesters chanted "Pour le monde pas pour la guerre", meaning, "For the world, not for the war", both of which are included within the song's lyrics. Pour Le Monde is an absolutely gorgeous song, a damning, but beautiful and magnificent criticism of Bush's administration (In a hope that comes to nothing/'Cos the liars moved in/And they believe in all dark medicine) - a protest song has never sounded so good before. Other highlights include the Beatlesque Heaven That I'm Making, the dark beauty of Silent House, You Are The One To Make Me Cry, which reminds me strongly of Painted From Memory-era Elvis Costello and People Are Like Suns, a very worthy album closer which features some heart-breakingly wonderful piano-led music.

As an album, Time On Earth isn't without flaws - it could easily be argued that it is maybe two songs too long and that there are too many samey mid-tempo songs which make the album less exciting and perhaps diminishes the listening pleasure of the work as a whole. While I would conceed that such a point of view has merit, the positives completely overwhelm the negatives on this album and the tracks which don't exactly attain the status of classics are still at least fairly good and perfectly listenable. Out of the fourteen tracks, at least ten - if not twelve - of them are worthy additions to the Crowded House catalogue and I'm sure that's more than most Crowded House fans expected prior to the release of this album. This isn't another Woodface or Together Alone, sure, but it's really not that far behind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute to a former band member..., 27 July 2007
By 
BD "bigdave2020" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
Sheer class and top drawer musicianship dominate this welcome return from Crowded House. The background information to this album would suggest that this was just a Neil Finn solo album released under the Crowded House banner, and comparisons with Neil Finns solo work are inevitable and valid to a point, but one could argue that over the years, Crowded House was in many ways a vehicle for Neil Finn's (and also to a certain extent his brothers), songwriting talents anyway. In terms of musical direction this album is somewhere between Neil Finn's solo album 'Try Whistling This' and the Crowded House album 'Woodface' and none the worse for it.

From opener to closer, this CD will offer thoughtful inspiring lyrics and varied and effective melodies and riffs. You have upbeat rock pop in the shape of "Don't stop now" "She Called Up" and "Even a Child". The laid back "Heaven That I'm making" and "Walked Her Way Down", the brooding "A sigh" and Silent House" and the thought provoking acoustic of "Pour Le Monde", "English Trees" and the album opener "Nobody Wants to".

In an age when new artists become hyped overnight sensations on the internet, declared musical genius after just one album, or dropped after two singles because they didn't reach the top ten, this mature body of work can only come from a group of musicians who have developed their craft over years of experience and the result is pure quality.

Without doubt Neil Finn has to be one the most under rated song writers of his and our generation. People who rate Paul McCartney's latest effort should listen to this and then seriously think about who has the talent right now, my vote is with the boys from New Zealand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back The Crowdies, 14 July 2007
By 
F. H. Moore "Tongue In The Mail" (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
I was desperate for this album to come out - it's been a long time coming. Like all of Crowded House's albums, although very eagerly awaited, this one takes a little getting used to. Immediately, there are a few songs that hit the spot, the others take a bit longer to warm. Once they do, you'll believe that this is one of their best.
However, this album is not Together Alone. It doesn't have the atmosphere of that superb album. I was rather hoping that Time On Earth would be a natural progression from Together Alone, which it is not. Although, all of their albums are different from each other. It does, naturally, miss Paul Hester RIP, as his harmony vocals were a great balance for Neil Finn. Diehard fans will recognise sounds from early CH, the Enz, Finn Brothers and Neil Finn solo projects and there are some great lyrics in there as expected - "I think too much, the alphabet, dances a pirouette in my head".
I have been hooked on Crowded House since I first heard the superlative Don't Dream It's Over, and they never tire. I might put them down for a while but I always come back to them. Very, very few bands have this ability. I am loving this album more and more each day, with Say That Again and Silent House being my favourites at the moment. I am sure that when they record their first full album together that it will be even better.
I can't wait for the Glasgow gig in November as it is always an ocassion to remember, having seen them several times. They are one of the few bands that are even better live, due to the rapport they seem to have with the crowds. All in all, it is fantastic to see them back together and it is long overdue, given some of the bands who have reformed recently. This is a must buy for diehard fans, of whom I count myself, and will also appeal to new fans. Welcome back the Crowdies!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mansion In The Slums, 24 Sept. 2007
By 
MORTEN AASTAD (Oslo Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
With 'Time on Earth' we see the return of a band, hailed by those who know a good song. Criminally underrated in their day, Crowded House sprang out of Neil Finn's time with big brother Tim Finn's Split Enz. When this band came to it's end, he brough drummer Paul Hester and new bass player Nick Seymour, to the US and the final result back in the mid 80's was Crowded House. Over the course of 4 albums, they brought us fantastic songs, wonderful lyrics, and pure quality, the likes we are not likely to see or hear often in the future of the music industry.

However, after a strained stint with brother Tim Finn on Crowded House, Paul Hesters moods became more and more difficult to handle, and while Hester left on his own accord, this left Finn feeling like the band had run it's course, and he disbanded it in 1996 after a wonderful farewell consert on the steps of the Sydney Operahouse. Finn would go on to record two fine solo albums, and a wonderful Finn Brothers album with brother Finn.

While touring with his brother Tim in 2004/05 Paul Hester commited suicide back in Melbourne. This event, along with the 10th aniversary DVD release of Farewell to the World, got Neil and Nick back together. It even drew in journeyman Mark Hart. Neil asked Nick to play on his new solo album in late 2006. It was during these recordings Neil felt like this was indeed like old times, and desided to resurrect Crowded House.

A few phonecalls later and Mark Hart was on board again, and after holding sessions, a new drummer was on board as well.

The resulting, and eagerly awaited, album is this, 'Time on Earth'.

At first a quite sombre afair, it might seem less 'right now' and more 'maybe later' than previous efforts. but listen intently right away, and you will find great pop songs that hit you right away, none more so that 'She Called Up'. But here are also deeply felt tremours like 'People Are Like Suns' recalling departed drummer Paul Hester. There are also those heavy pop songs, reminding us of the course the band had on their previous record, Together Alone. I'm thinking of 'Heaven that I'm making' in particular. And, to remind us of what he did during his experimantal 'One All' period, there is the wonderful 'Transit Lounge'.

This album demands it's audience to make an effort, but its reward far outweighs any first impressions. I think this is easily the best record anyone has made this year. It goes pretty much without saying really. We are dealing with a record made by Neil Finn after all.

I challenge anyone to come up with anyone, living or dead, who can match this man and his body of work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, 10 July 2007
By 
Justin L. Cash (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time On Earth (Audio CD)
This new Crowded House effort is simply wonderful. But, if you're after instant gratification, then this album is not for you. It is impossible to comment on this CD before at least half a dozen listens. It is darker and heavier than previous Crowded House sets and Paul Hester's presence is everywhere. While it may not have the same level of energy as you'd expect from typical Crowded House fare, it nevertheless has moments of pure Neil Finn genius. She Called Up is the closest thing to the boppy Crowded House of yesterday, reminiscent of Something So Strong. In part, Time On Earth does resemble one of Neil Finn's solo projects, but this is only logical because this CD began as Finn's next solo work until the suggestion of reforming Crowded House was raised. There are aspects of every part of Finn's career on this CD, with hints of Split Enz, reminders of the Crowded House we used to love (and now love again) and both his own work and that with brother Tim, as well. On first listen, you'll probably only like two or three tracks, but after half a dozen listens you won't be able to put it down. There's something to enjoy about nearly every track on this CD. The uptempo pop of the Crowded House of the 80s and 90s still exists on Time on Earth, the gorgeous ballads are haunting, the brooding rock of Silent House (co-written with The Dixie Chicks) fantastic, and the melodies, just beautiful. To all those doubters out there, you didn't really think one of the greatest songwriters of our generation would let us down, did you?
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Time On Earth by Crowded House (Audio CD - 2007)
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