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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for a Change
OK, so I'm the first on here with five stars. Here's why.

Like those people who got to see that other Neil play all of his 'hits' at the Carnegie Hall the other week, there's a longing for the magic moments that started the relationship, whether it be Old Man, Harvest or Southern Man or, in this Neil's case, I Got You, Don't Dream it's Over or Fall at Your...
Published 2 months ago by Mark Bradley

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Try whistling THIS !
It's with a heavy heart that I say that this is the least enjoyable 'mainstream' album Neil has released in 30 years. I was bouyed by the 4-star reviews (on Neil's website) that professional reviewers have given this album across the world. That says more about professional music critics, who would rather have a chin-stroking album than something, er, commercial. You can...
Published 1 month ago by Breadman


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Try whistling THIS !, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
It's with a heavy heart that I say that this is the least enjoyable 'mainstream' album Neil has released in 30 years. I was bouyed by the 4-star reviews (on Neil's website) that professional reviewers have given this album across the world. That says more about professional music critics, who would rather have a chin-stroking album than something, er, commercial. You can have both anyway ; to me TOGETHER ALONE is one of the best albums EVER made - tuneful, soulful and deep. Overall, it (and WOODFACE) were memorable. This album is not. It might be meaningful - but the reason I listen to Neil Finn music is because there is a tune. Sadly half of this album is devoid of a tune. As I say, I'm rather devastated that the album is so average. It's not all bad - there are 4 songs here that could have gone on any Crowded House album - but as for the other 7 - they are really B-side-ish. I shall still be seeing Neil live soon (7th time) - but secretly hope that he only plays 4 or 5 songs from this album, and sticks to his 88 - 08 heyday.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for a Change, 12 Feb 2014
By 
Mark Bradley "Leadgate Len" (West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
OK, so I'm the first on here with five stars. Here's why.

Like those people who got to see that other Neil play all of his 'hits' at the Carnegie Hall the other week, there's a longing for the magic moments that started the relationship, whether it be Old Man, Harvest or Southern Man or, in this Neil's case, I Got You, Don't Dream it's Over or Fall at Your Feet. Every new album is often laid side by side with the 'favourite' and conclusions - usually underwhelming ones - rapidly reached. I can see that syndrome in some of the other reviews on here.

I didn't like Try Whistling this, but was blown away by One Nil and eager to see whether Dave Fridmann would be to this album, what Youth was to the outstanding Together Alone. Have only listened twice through so far and the impressions are very positive. Unlike the other reviewer I loved Divebomber and it hasn't left my playlist since. To be fair, there isn't anything like Divebomber on Dizzy Heights, but I'd argue there isn't anything like Divebomber anywhere at all. What there is, is that familiar minor-chord beauty to the melodies, which often takes some time to reveal itself (White Lies and Alibis being a great example), combined with some more 'obvious' tunes, such as Recluse and some more soulful, beat-driven tracks like Dizzy Heights itself and Flying in the Face of Love.

There are elements of the album which reflect Peter Gabriel's drum-heavy, eastern-tinged orchestral stuff (bits of the afore mentioned White Lies and Alibis recall Signal to Noise) and also some that strip everything back in favour of a fragile voice (Lights of New York). But there is much to love here, much to let get under your skin. It's a brave step forward, an unexpected approach and, in my view at least, a triumph. Now if I only had the cash to see him at Gateshead ...
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neil Finn scales some dizzy heights with his new album, 10 Feb 2014
By 
Mr. D. K. Smith (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
Dizzy Heights is Neil Finn's third solo album, following Try Whistling This (1998) and One Nil (2001). The most striking thing about it is the eclectic mixture of styles - for example there's the gospel-tinged opening track "Impressions", the funky "Flying in the Name of Love" and the wonderfully bluesy and sometimes oblique "White Lies and Alibis". The distorted vocals and different musical approaches were slightly unexpected, but it's a welcome change.

Part of the reason for Finn venturing outside of his usual comfort zone is down to producer Dave Fridmann. Best known for his work with Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips, Fridmann's production certainly makes an impression - amongst various production flourishes are very well arranged strings on several tracks, which enhance the songs no end.

Particular highlights of the album are the title track with its dreamy vocals and a slight ELO feel, "White Lies and Alibis" which is one of the more experimental tracks and "Pony Ride" which very much has a Split Enz vibe.

There's no denying the quality of Finn's work over the last three decades or so and Dizzy Heights is another strong album, although as it's quite different from a lot of his previous work it might not appeal to all.

And whilst it's fair to say that it doesn't all quite come off, some songs do feel like they're slow burners which may click eventually - so there's plenty here to enjoy. Recommended.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laurels, uncrushed and disregarded., 11 Feb 2014
This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
With 'Dizzy Heights', Neil Finn continues what he started with the title and contents of his first solo album, 'Try Whistling This'. And that is, fixing anyone who wants him to become the next Elton John, George Michael or even Robbie Williams with a steady stare while giving them his middle finger.

He will not be going soft on us by merely rehashing Crowded House songs on daytime TV to pad out his retirement fund. No, he's looking forward not back and is still curious about what else his music could be.

I've been listening to this album for a week on Pandora. When 'Divebomber' was first released I was unimpressed and disappointed. That falsetto, the rambling nothingness of it all. No, I wouldn't be buying this album. But the experience of the whole album puts that track into perspective. I'm not keen on it yet but I do now have an appreciation for it and it's growing on me. If nothing else it makes me smile when I think of Mr. Finn picking it as the lead single. As I said, a middle finger to those hoping for easy, charming, beguiling melodies that echo his past triumphs.

Still, there are some 'That Crowded House Guy' gems here along with the more experimental tracks. His falsetto appears in about three songs and I'm not sure if he's pulling it off or not. But it's that spread from conventional to odd that may make this his most interesting and enjoyable solo album so far. There are some truly wonderful moments where everything comes together so perfectly that it makes my hair stand on end - the last minute or so of 'Recluse' comes to mind. Then there are some forays into more 'difficult' music, that you wouldn't normally associate with Neil Finn, that are enjoyable in a totally different way. But it's not like this is a Scott Walker record, most of the tracks are pretty conventional and easily enjoyable.

In this age of the loudness wars I always take a look at the wave form to see if there's any compression on an album. I was surprised to see that there is. The track 'Flying In The Face Of Love' being the worst example.

All in all though, there's much to enjoy here and I hope he doesn't get arthritis in that finger.

Some other good news is that Mr. Finn has dispensed with that really bad mustache that had attacked his face around the time of Crowded House's 'Intriguer' album. Now, maybe, if things keep going this well, he'll remaster and re-issue the first four Crowded House albums in nice digi-paks with some bonus stuff and copious liner notes. C'mon Neil, after all, we did humour you with that 'tasche.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Third listen and I was hooked, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
First listen I thought "oh dear", second listen it was "hmmm" and by the third I was hooked. Haven't stopped listening since. Brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A grower!, 11 April 2014
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B. J. du Cille (West Bromwich, West Midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
Neil Finn was always a favourite songwriter of mine when he was in Crowded House. I was thinking that he must have given up the business but this new album really grows on one with repeated plays.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than Pajama Club - just about..., 12 Feb 2014
By 
A. Sweeney "I don't care what you call me" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
It's one thing to respect an artist for refusing to play it safe, but it's another thing entirely to actually enjoy their deliberately non-commercial work. I'm a fan of Neil Finn... mostly. I think he's a great bloke and believe that he has written some of the greatest songs of the last thirty years, but he has also been responsible for a lot of rather underwhelming stuff too ("Try Whistling This", "Finn", "Pajama Club"). "Dizzy Heights", for me, belongs in the latter category and is only rescued from being something I will file away and never listen to again by a handful of songs. Being mindful of the fact that one of my favourite albums of all time Crowded House's, "Together Alone", took quite a few plays to fully appreciate, I decided to give this album a good hearing before committing my thoughts into words. Sadly, this is no "Together Alone"; it could, of course, be argued that very few albums measure up to such a great album, but "Dizzy Heights" isn't even an "Intriguer".

There are a handful of songs which stop this project from being a bit of a dud. The title track has hints of greatness - it's a light, sunny pop song, with splashes of strings and a slight soulful feel to it, like a decent World Party single from the nineties whereas the likeable "Flying In The Face Of Love" has elements of one of Tears For Fears' more smooth efforts. When I heard it a few weeks before the album was released, I was utterly intrigued by lead single, "Divebomber", which has a distinct Mercury Rev feel to it and still now consider it to be one of the most inventive, melodic, captivating pieces on this album. Surely putting it out as a single was an act of mischief, though? "Recluse" works well, with some entertaining lyrics and is very pleasing to the ear, musically, and my last pick of the album is the genuinely good "Strangest Friends" which sounds a little like it could be an album track from Bowie's last album, "The Next Day". "In My Blood" deserves an honourable mention too, for sounding like the only track on this album which could probably fit in on a Crowded House release. However, none of these songs could be called a work of genius - even the best tracks on "Dizzy Heights" don't compare favourably with most Crowded House B-sides.

Let's face it, if you're a Neil Finn fan, you will buy this album anyway. It's not a bad piece of work, but that's about as generous as I feel I can be - it's average. There are a few songs on here that make it just about worth buying, but I suspect that most people will find themselves respecting Neil's artistry on the album without actually really enjoying it that much. It's listenable, it's inoffensive, it's well recorded, performed and also relatively original - but it doesn't particularly excite, isn't leftfield enough to at least be seen to be stretching boundaries and also fails to connect on an emotional level throughout the vast majority of the material on offer here. When you know what Neil is capable of, it's difficult to feel anything other than frustration when you listen to "Dizzy Heights" and look forward to the next Crowded House project when, hopefully, he will be forced to break out the real melodies. Sorry, Neil.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth, irresistable and still not resting laurels...., 20 Mar 2014
By 
Mr. A. J. Whiteway "andy-ru" (Londinium, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
I heard an advance copy of 'Divebomber' and thought 'ouch'. But then again, I almost wish I hadn't, because music streamed over the internet always sounds awful and 'Diverbomber' is such a delicate, fickle work that it's only with headphones on late at night that you get its kaleidoscopic effect in all its fullness.

I mention 'Divebomber' first, because it is very indicative of the album, perhaps more so than the (rather lovely) title track. Neil Finn's solo records have always been coloured by an experimentalism you wouldn't necessarily associate with Crowded House. What's interesting for me is that Neil has often had a heavy hand in the production of 'One Nil' and 'Try Whistling This', (for me with mixed results - some of One Nil I really struggled with), whereas on this occasion he has perhaps been more mindful of the effect Youth had on the seminal, dark final Crowded House album 'Together Alone'. Therefore Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev / Flaming Lips) has been bought on to this record, with startling effect.

I can't think (other than Together Alone) of a more interesting, organic tracklist of any of Neil's work. For example, the dizzy, gospel-tinged 'impressions' that opens the album wonderfully segues into the title track 'Dizzy Heights' by way of some looped/skipped strings that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand whenever I hear it. Ditto for the intro and punchy laser effects which accompany the lyrically brutal 'White Lies and Alibis' towards the end of the album. The use of strings is a firm thing that marks this out from other Neil albums and they are always used interestingly..

For me there are many stand out tracks on the album ('Recluse' and 'In My Blood' worth particular mentions), but what makes this album stand out for me is the bold and uncomprimising choices Neil continues to make in his music. Love it or hate it - he's a true artist in every sense, continuing to grasp for something just out of reach. Definitely worth a check and a few considered lessons if you're sitting on the fence and haven't got this yet.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Inconsistent, 12 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights (Audio CD)
An inconsistent and uneven album. There are four or five good songs; the title track, 'Flying In The Face Of Love' and 'In My Blood' catching my eye. But I'm not sure they make up for the remainder which is at best unremarkable and at worst a bit odd. At times the music feels really aimless and lacks the hook and dynamism you'd expect from Neil Finn.

I've heard Neil's solo work described as 'uneasy listening' and that certainly applies to some of this album. 'Divebomber' is pretty unpleasant to the ear but my main gripe is with songs like Pony Ride, 'White Lies and Alibis' and 'Strangest Friends' which are just absolutely average. At times they threaten to turn into something good, only to disappoint and they're ultimately forgettable. And with 'Lights of New York' the album really closes with a whimper.

Vocally Neil has made some strange decisions and this tendency he's developed of singing for extended periods in a sometimes poor falsetto is ill-advised. I also find some of his recent lyrical work to be pedestrian and awkward - see 'Recluse' - and I'm not sure the lines "like a dog P***ing on a statue" and "we're watching A Game of Thrones" are his greatest work.

Neil is trying really hard to come up with something new but I can't help feeling that some of the songs here are rejects from Pajama Club with some strange and heavy producing. It doesn't help that wife Sharon's average singing voice is again present, making the album sound too close to Pajama Club and Intriguer.

Worth a listen but there are too many skippable songs here.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a huge disappointment, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Dizzy Heights [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I have had this vinyl on pre-order for as long as I have been able to. Having read all the positive reviews ahead of its release I was really looking forward to this. I have to say I feel really let down. The highlights so the album are average. The low-points are unlistenable. I previewed Divebomber from Neil's own website beforehand and it sounded awful. It still does. There is another track on the album (who's name eludes me right now) which is similarly bad, with Neil's struggling falsetto jarring terribly with a tuneless string section. I agree with the other reviewer who says that perhaps this is a project which Neil would have been better to have kept for family listening. I totally reject reviewers who suggest that those who don't like this album are more comfortable with 3 minute pop tunes. Neil Finn is firmly at the more mainstream end of my record collection. I have no problem with experimental or non-commercial, but Neil should stick to what he does best. This is light years away from his best albums - Together Alone & Try Whistling This.
I'll be seeing him live in Manchester & expect a great gig, just as the reformed Crowded House were great live, promoting the very average 'Intriguer'. I can't help feeling though that his best days are long behind him in the studio. Intriguer, Pajama Club, and now Dizzy Heights have done nothing to enhance his reputation, and it pains me to say so because 4 Crowded House albums and his two solo albums are some of the finest records I own. I don't often do negative reviews, but as much as I really like the man, it had to be done
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Dizzy Heights
Dizzy Heights by Neil Finn (Audio CD - 2014)
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