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Finn's still what he used to be ...
on 23 October 2006
Although Tim Finn's post-Split Enz exploits are inextricably linked to his brother Neil and the success of their three subsequent collaborations (1991's Woodface (as part of Crowded House), 1995's Finn and 2004's Everyone is Here), he has ploughed a separate furrow as an energetic, passionate and melodic songster himself. 1992's Before and After seemed to suggest consolidated world-wide success and we all awaited the next big thing. Unfortunately, though loved by his fans, Say It Is So made no impression and was only originally available in the UK on import. Feeding the Gods, however, in spite of no official release in the UK, saw a return to a brasher, more hard hitting style, ending with the rousing Phil Judd collaboration, Incognito in California and the recent Finn Brothers world tour has not dimmed his energy.
Imaginary Kingdom kicks off with Couldn't Be Done, a song already getting Radio 2 airplay, and reminiscent of his very first solo album, 1984's Escapade, in its jaunty, bouncy feel. From then on we're presented with a variety of styles ranging from the mid-paced singalong (Still the Song) - like an updated 'Good Together' from Say It Is So to the rousing blues of Show Yourself. Beyond that the album entertains without wholly engaging. Ballads like Astounding Moon threaten to enrapture, but somehow don't quite make it and Precious appears no more than a filler. However, in Dead Flowers and Resting Your Hand, there is much to love - and the best is kept until last. Unsinkable appears to commemorate his young family, perhaps the driving force behind his recent newly found creativity. An incessant drumbeat, whispered vocals, the sweetest melody and orchestration reminiscent of Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy, it leaves you wanting more as the drums fill the song and rush it away.
The album grows on you with each listen, and while it doesn't stir as much as his work with brother Neil, it should bring Tim Finn some overdue recognition as a strong performer in his own right.