Afterglow is a collection of Crowded House’s outtakes and b-sides. There’s an alternate version of ‘Private Universe’ from Together Alone, and ‘Left Hand’ turned up on the live disc from Recurring Dream, but the rest of these songs are appearing for the first time on a long player. Afterglow doesn’t collect every single Crowded House leftover – it’s the best of the leftovers, arranged to make a self-contained forty five minute album that stands alongside their original albums. There aren’t any major classics hiding here, but the more relaxed atmosphere helps to bring out a less starched version of the band, which does a lot to compensate.
The simmering, majestic ‘I Am In Love’ would be a standout track on any of their albums, while the guitar arpeggios of ‘Recurring Dream’, one of the band’s earliest songs with original guitarist Craig Hooper still in the band, would have made for one of the best songs on the debut. The word play of ‘I Love You Dawn’, which alternates between referring to dawn and Finn’s wife, whose middle name is conveniently Dawn, is also gorgeous, while ‘Time Immemorial’ is a pretty waltz. There’s lightweight material like ‘My Telly’s Gone Bung’, and some of the material ditched from the Woodface sessions to accommodate the Finn brothers material is also unremarkable.
Regardless, as an outtakes collection, Afterglow is a surprisingly satisfying compilation.