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FINN'S HOUSE IS STILL FULL OF SURPRISES
on 16 June 2010
Like the Beatles double whammy of Rubber Soul & Revolver, Crowded House will forever be measured by the classic Woodface album and it's darker follow up Together Alone. Anyone expecting a re-run of earlier triumphs will be a tad dissapointed by Intriguer - there's no 'Weather With You' sunny singalong optimism and no obvious big singles to set the charts alight.
What you do get however is another record full of Neil Finn's creamy rich melodies, oblique lyrics and addictive songs that, once lodged in the brain, stay there. Business as usual then. Well not exactly. There is a good deal of experimentation on Intriguer that, for a band now on it's 6th release is quite surprising - effects, drum machines, loops, samples - all admirable envelope pushing but not always successful. 'Inside Out' in particular suffers from muddy production and over reliance on technology.
On the plus side Finn's voice has matured beautifully - witness the spooky McCartney like 'Isolation' and the White Album aping 'Falling Dove'. Both float prettily by but leave little impact on first hearing. Give it 3 or 4 listens however and your hooked. Lead single 'Saturday Son' makes it's case for best Crowded House 45 since the band's reformation and the catchy piano lead 'Twice If Your Lucky' is every bit as good as the live previews suggested.
Intriguer ends on a high note with the hauntingly beautiful 'Even If' and the lovely 'Elephants' - the latters 'Sweet Dreams/Make Waves/Find Bliss' refrain perfectly summing up what has gone before.
Intriguer isn't a perfect record by any means, it lacks pacing and, at times is a mite over produced and self conscious. But when those gorgeous harmonies kick in and that nagging hook or poetic lyric clicks into place you remember why you fell in love with Crowded House in the first place.
Repeated listening rewards in spades.