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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.
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Without falling into the trap of harking back to the past, I still found this release a bit disappointing. Having heard a lot of the material live, the studio versions sound confused and over-produced like a fabulous dish smothered in too much sauce and flavoured with too many spices. Saturday Sun is a good example, the synth flourishes are like buzzing flies in your ears. After repeated plays, one gets somewhat used to it but my immediate impression persists, that I would have preferred a simpler, cleaner mix, with more of the energy and spontaneous force of their live performances and more emphasis on the music instead of the distracting extras. The material is solid: beautiful, inventive lyrics (always very important for me), distinctive melodies, fantastic execution from the multi-talented Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod (who copes well with the thankless task of deputising for the unforgettable Paul Hester). Nick and Neil, well we know all about them and this latest effort proves that some things (i.e. musicians) just get better with time ... although I do wish Neil would find a different way with his falsetto.

Personal favourites are the supremely atmospheric Amsterdam, Archer's Arrows, Twice If You're Lucky, Even If (despite the dodgy falsetto) and the sweet Elephants. Although I like the start, Isolation strikes me as gimmicky and since I find the cry of anguish quite hilarious, that ruins the mood a bit. In conclusion, I like Intriguer but I don't love it. It's a welcome release, coming from one of my favourite bands, but it doesn't have the power and gravitas of Time on Earth. Seeing that Neil is busy with his different projects, I'm hoping we haven't heard the last of Crowded House.
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on 21 November 2010
As a huge Crowded house fan, i have to ask, where have all those wonderful uplifting catchy songs gone? with all the hooks that leave you begging for more. Maybe its just me but why is the album so slow i miss the energy of the earlier albums. I have played the album many times and there are a couple of good songs that i can tap my feet to but the rest of the album i'm finding difficult to get into. Oh how i crave for another album like temple of the low men. Maybe i'm getting old! When you see the the band live there's alot of energy, so come on Crowded house put some of that back into your studio work. Fans of more uplifting stuff should check out the Bluetones most recent album a new Athens, its what this album could have been like. Peter.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 April 2014
The artwork on their albums never fails to intrigue...

Crowded House have grown up since their earlier recordings. The work is a little more serious but is still unmistakeably there own special brand of music.

It is a solid album, with some nice melodies and good songwriting. However, there isn't a song here to conquer the globe, such as 'Weather With You', although all the tracks are enjoyable in their own right.

As albums go, not a classic, but very good by any standard and worthy of investigation.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 October 2012
The artwork on their albums never fails to intrigue...

Crowded House have grown up since their earlier recordings. The work is a little more serious but is still unmistakeably there own special brand of music.

It is a solid album, with some nice melodies and good songwriting. However, there isn't a song here to conquer the globe, such as 'Weather With You', although all the tracks are enjoyable in their own right.

As albums go, not a classic, but very good by any standard and worthy of investigation.
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on 24 June 2013
I'm a HUGE fan of the band and Neil's solo work BUT you should give this a miss as his voice is all over the place on this live set. A shame.
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on 23 August 2011
I have been a Crowded House/ Finn brothers fan since the mid eighties and have always been biased when it comes to their music. I feel that Neil Finn's music and lyrics are (in my humble opinion) genius.

Intriguer is not a bad album. There are some really nicely crafted tunes, reminiscent of Crowded House's heyday. (e.g Amsterdam). The major problem is that I feel it lacks `punch' (for want of a better word.) So many tracks feel laboured and just don't have the spark we have come to expect.

If I could make an analogy, `Crowded house- Intriguer' makes me think of a football team that have come out for the second half, being 4-0 up and have chosen to show boat the rest of the match. Yes- it's all very nice, but they could be so much better.

A nice album, but that's all.
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on 3 September 2010
Crowded House are a band easy to admire, but maybe less so, i find, to get overly excited about. The magnificent 'Time On Earth' went someway to changing my opinion of them, and i would admit my expectations were high for a new album. It has taken more than a few listens for 'Intriguer' to finally live up to those hopes, even if it's still not quite as good as 'Time On Earth'. As usual, a few of their songs seep into the subconscious, and 'Saturday Sun', 'Amsterdam' and 'Twice If You're Lucky' will rightfully take their place on the list too long to mention of classic Crowded House tunes. Intelligent, grown-up, pop music with guitars, Crowded House do seem to be treading a similar path to Wilco, and as it turns out, both 'Intriguer' and 'Wilco(the album)' were produced by Jim Scott. All in all, there is nothing here that will surprise you and everything in Crowded House world is at it should be, which i for one, am actually thankful for.
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on 11 July 2010
Disappointing. Whereas the magnanimous 'Time on Earth' - and pretty much everything released hitherto by Crowded House/ Neil Finn et al, has been Grade A sublime - evocative and beguiling; replete in crisp imagery, adroit chordal harmony, rich engineering, and rarely short of the most important quality of all - catchy songs - Intriguer just floats by without ... doing much at all.

Whilst many may rightfully disagree, if you're expecting vintage Crowded House, you may sadly be disappointed.
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on 28 November 2013
I agree with the US reviews and really enjoyed this package. It's a good record of the tour for the last CH album.
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