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One Nil CD
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The 12 tracks on One Nil proffer a more organic, rougher-hewn take on Neil Finn's solid classicism. While Crowded House's populist folk-pop tugged as many purse-strings as it did hearts, Finn's solo career has been characterised by nothing more strident than the soft shuffle of gentle understatement--as if the Antipodean troubadour feared his former muse would be insulted by any attempts to out-pop the relentlessly tuneful House. Not that this follow-up to 1998's patchy solo debut Try Whistling This is in any way under-whelming. The swirling effects and treated guitars of "Rest of the Day" hint more at latter-day Split Enz and even, occasionally, Oasis than Crowded House. Unfortunately, there is also a sense that the addition of such sonic accoutrements may be little more than a ham-fisted attempt to add techno-savvy flesh to basic, traditional bones--with "Hole in the Ice" and "Secret God" imbued with dubious guitar solos and irritatingly superfluous backing vocals (courtesy, bizarrely enough, of former Prince demoiselles Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman) that merely serve to detract from the music's warm-hearted core. Nevertheless, Finn's long-runnning lyrical concerns--love, loyalty and, predominantly, self-doubt--have never been expressed more adroitly. "Into the Sunset", for example, is a sweet love letter to his wife, while "Last to Know" manages to deliver a jaunty treatise on mortality ("I'll end up under a bus/With my fingers crossed"). Although Finn still appears reluctant to rock out with strong tunes, One Nil is neverthless bursting with charm and gentle melody, suggesting the "real" Neil Finn is finally finding his feet. --Sarah Dempster
Top Customer Reviews
Produced by Tchad Blake, a range of top notch musicians appear on the CD including Sheryl Crow, Wendy & Lisa, Jim Moginie and Jim Keltner. Despite Neil's recent stints at Largo there is no sign of any musical input from Jon Brion. Hope that particular musical union could be consummated someday. (Check out JB's 'Meaningless')
1 The Climber
A droning intro leads into an almost REM/Neil Young type song that soon hints at Neil's CH heritage prompting '..a smile between us.'. PS Has the e-bow become today's didgeridoo I ask myself?
2 Rest Of The Day Off
Mid tempo song that could have easily fitted onto 'Finn'. Atmospheric guitars with a bit of CH freaking out at one stage. Other phases of the track include a Bowie 'Ashes to ashes' interlude. A real grower ......
3 Hole In The Ice
Coming straight out of 'Rest of the day off' this is a pretty pacy track about....well I'm not really sure. Lyrics include Neil singing about making fire, Eskimos giving him lines for his songs and therapy 'one on one'. Happenstance perchance? Son Liam makes an appearance on backing vocals.
4 Wherever You Are
Familiar from Largo and an excellent song. Unfortunately here the drum machine intro irritates (though I admit that all drum machines irritate me!). Still, the acoustic version from Largo may well have the edge. Sharon sings backing vocals with Mitchell Froom making one of his many contributions to the album on keyboards.
5 The Last To Know
A slow ballad with a nice production.Read more ›
But that's always been Neil's trademark. For every "Message for my girl," there has been a "Bullet Brain and Plastic Head." For every "Take a Walk," there's been a "Log Cabin Fever." For every "Distant Sun," there's been a "Black and White Boy." And gee, there isn't a single song on "Temple of Low Men" one couldn't call dark.
What is a plus here are all the layers of distorted violins, harmoniums, beat boxes, and various other unconventionalities that give the record and otherwordly feel.
Mr. Finn should be proud.
That said, One Nil (the terrible title aside!) is a huge improvement on Try Whistling This. That album sounded a little too much like it was trying not to be Crowded House. The result was a patchy and slightly soulless record. One Nil has a greater consistency both in terms of it's feel and the quality of material. Given that Neil Finn would have to try quite hard to write a rubbish song, the key to this improvement is not so much the songs as the performance. Here the contributions of Wendy and Lisa cannot be underestimated. They seem to add a level of melody and punch - and Neil Finn certainly needs a bit of the latter at times. What Neil Finn needs is a foil to add a bit of edge because without it he tends to sound a bit sweet. Wendy and Lisa do this job with some aplomb.
In short this is a very very good record which has been resident on my CD player for almost a week now. It lacks that bit of energy or punch or whatever you want to call it, but it is still arguably the best thing he has ever done. If the next album (and let's hope it roles around a bit quicker than this one) can capture a bit more of that edginess lacking on this, and every other Neil Finn/Crowded House record come to think of it, then Neil Finn may have finally recorded a classic of our times. Get Tom Waits in to produce it perhaps.
This album carries on where 'Try Whistling This' left off - it's darker, moodier, more in the vein of the collaboration with his brother on the 1995 'Finn' album. It's also a very classy piece of work; experimental or not, each track stands up to scrutiny and yields new emotional content with each play. On first listen, the album doesn't hit you with harmonic, sing-along gems, but that's the point, as there's far more staying power inherent here, more subtleties to return to, than in the days of Crowded House. The fact that the first three tracks merge into each other is no coincidence, as it sets the tone for the album: it's a gliding trip through a serene sonic universe. Each song is individually crafted, but in a sense it doesn't do full justice to focus on the tunes in isolation, because the whole album is just so damned good. Having said that, initial stand-out tracks for me were 'Hole In The Ice', which mixes anger with melancholy, with shouted verses fusing into a superb synth chorus; 'Secret God', which is wonderfully relaxed and lilting, the kind of track that has you drifting away until it concludes in an other-worldly, sci-fi-esque ending; and 'Anytime', which could hardly be described as lyrically up-beat ('I could go at any time/ there's nothing safe about this life'), but which has a certain jangly hook that has you singing along in no time.
All in all, Neil once again easily evades the naffdom of fourty-something music to produce an album of musical integrity in a world of pop clichés.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A mixed album from the Crowded house songmeister with one outstanding track, the magnificent Last to knowPublished 23 months ago by GRAHAM LANGTREE
I love this album because it hugs you like a warm coat. This is an album strong on beautiful harmonies and sweet melodies. Read morePublished on 3 May 2014 by WOOLLY MAMMOTH
good condition quickly received fantastic album great songs in this album exspecially the climber, the first track actually the album is my favourite headphone listeningPublished on 27 Dec. 2012 by rkirki
What is all the fuss about Neil Finn? This is easily one of the most average, dreary, mediocre records ever made, although it would be a very healthy, non-addictive alternative to... Read morePublished on 19 July 2008 by Stan
This album didn't at first appeal to me quite as much as the brilliant "Try Whistling this" but after a few plays the songs get under your skin and you find yourself listening to... Read morePublished on 30 May 2007 by pint6x
Although I seem to be in a minority, I felt that Finn's previous work before this release was a major letdown. Read morePublished on 21 May 2007 by gnagfloW