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Crowded House

Crowded House Together Alone

Crowded House Album Reviews

Breaking up Split Enz after feeling too much pressure to fill his older brother’s shoes, Neil Finn retained drummer Paul Hester from the final Enz lineup and created a more streamlined band. They recruited Australian bass player Nick Seymour (brother of Hunters and Collector’s lead singer Mark), and secured an American record deal. Their career took off with the single ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ from their 1986 debut album reaching number two on the American charts. While they didn’t maintain that level of success in America, their third album Woodface, which included Tim Finn as a band member, established them as a popular band in the UK. The group split after their fourth album, 1993’s almost perfect Together Alone, but reunited for 2007’s Time on Earth, a tribute to the late Hester.

Crowded House follow a mainstream guitar pop/rock template, and Neil Finn has openly acknowledged his love for other pop craftsmen like The Beatles and Elton John. Coupled with Neil Finn’s settled personal life, reflected in his songs, there have always been criticisms of the group being a safe, “dad-rock” band. While there’s certainly some truth in this, I don’t listen to Crowded House for experimentation and boundary pushing, and  the main draw-card has always been Neil Finn’s expertly crafted songs. If you’re a skeptic, at least give Together Alone a chance – Youth’s unorthodox production techniques and the wild New Zealand landscape bring the best out of the band, and parts of the record are rawer and more beautiful than anything else in their catalogue.

While Neil Finn was the creative lynch-pin, writing the large majority of the material, drummer Paul Hester was arguably the soul of Crowded House. His unpredictable antics enlivened the band’s concerts, and they’re a more fun live band than their formal studio records would indicate. Neil Finn went on record as saying: “Paul’s got limitations technically sometimes, but ….. he played my songs very well. He plays a shuffle in the same way I play the guitar. There was a certain chemistry in the band.”

I’ve covered the Split Enz catalogue separately, but I have covered a bunch of Tim and Neil Finn’s other albums on this page. I’ve only covered one of Tim’s solo albums, but I’ve covered most of Neil’s solo projects up to around 2010. As a note, I’ve probably been a little too dismissive of the later work covered on this page – I haven’t been particularly impressed by a Finn album since 2001’s One Nil, but there’s still plenty of strong craftsmanship that dedicated fans will appreciate. 1995’s Finn is my favourite of the albums that the Finn brothers have been involved with outside of Split Enz and Crowded House, and it’s well worth hearing.

Ten Favourite Crowded House Songs

Distant Sun
Don’t Dream It’s Over
Private Universe
Hole In The River (specifically, the live version from the Recurring Dreams bonus disc)
Into Temptation
Fall At Your Feet
Nails In My Feet
Four Seasons in One Day
Catherine Wheels
In My Command

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Crowded House 1986 Album

Crowded House – Crowded House

Crowded House (1986), 7/10 After breaking up Split Enz, Neil Finn retained drummer Paul Hester and recruited bassist Nick Seymour, … Continue Reading Crowded House – Crowded House

Crowded House Temple of Low Men

Temple of Low Men – Crowded House

Temple of Low Men (1988), 8.5/10 Crowded House’s second album is a significant step forward from their first, even though it … Continue Reading Temple of Low Men – Crowded House

Crowded House Woodface

Woodface – Crowded House

Woodface (1991), 7.5/10 Woodface is the result of two separate recording projects; an attempt at a third Crowded House album, … Continue Reading Woodface – Crowded House

Crowded House Together Alone

Together Alone – Crowded House

Together Alone (1993), 10/10 Crowded House’s final studio album before their initial breakup was recorded in a lonely beach studio in … Continue Reading Together Alone – Crowded House

Crowded House The Very Best Of Recurring Dream

Recurring Dream – Crowded House

Recurring Dream The Very Best Of (1996), not rated I’m not reviewing this – I generally think the band’s first … Continue Reading Recurring Dream – Crowded House

Crowded House Afterglow

Afterglow – Crowded House

Afterglow (1999), 7/10 Afterglow is a collection of Crowded House’s outtakes and b-sides. There’s an alternate version of ‘Private Universe’ … Continue Reading Afterglow – Crowded House

Crowded House Time on Earth

Time on Earth – Crowded House

Time on Earth (2007), 6/10 Original Crowded House drummer Paul Hester took his own life in 2005, the catalyst for the … Continue Reading Time on Earth – Crowded House

Crowded House Intriguer

Intriguer – Crowded House

Intriguer (2010), not rated I’m listing this for the sake of completeness, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever cover … Continue Reading Intriguer – Crowded House

Tim Finn Before & After

Before & After – Time Finn

Before And After (1993), 7/10 Tim Finn uses a variety of instrumentalists and producers on Before & After, his fourth … Continue Reading Before & After – Time Finn

Finn Brothers 1995

Finn – Finn Brothers

Finn (1995), 8/10 Tim and Neil Finn joined forces in 1995 to record the low-key Finn album. The brothers play … Continue Reading Finn – Finn Brothers

The Finn Brothers Everyone is Here

Everyone Is Here – Finn Brothers

Everyone Is Here (2004), 5.5/10 The Finn Brothers’ first album as a duo was stripped down, with an off-the-cuff flavour, … Continue Reading Everyone Is Here – Finn Brothers

Neil Finn Try Whistling This

Try Whistling This – Neil Finn

Try Whistling This (1998), 6.5/10 For his first solo record, Try Whistling This, Neil Finn made an intentional effort to … Continue Reading Try Whistling This – Neil Finn

Neil Finn One Nil

One Nil – Neil Finn

One Nil (2001), 7.5/10 After the more experimental Try Whistling This, One Nil reverts to the guitar based approach of Crowded House, … Continue Reading One Nil – Neil Finn

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