Tim and Neil Finn joined forces in 1995 to record the low-key Finn album. The brothers play the bulk of the instruments, with the only outside musicians Dave Dobbyn, who contributes a meaty bass lines to ‘Kiss The Road of Rarotonga’, and the Avarua Presbyterian Choir who contribute backing vocals to ‘Paradise’. As demonstrated on the collaborative tracks on Woodface, the Finn’s lyrics become more cryptic and less personal when they write together; Neil and Tim’s joint lyrics abound with surreal in-jokes: “Feeling just a little surprised/Like you discovered Engelbert Humperdink or something/Inside the fairy light.
Because most of the instrumental parts are straightforward and low-key, the focus is often directed onto the song writing. Apart from the staid, tuneless ‘Bullets in My Hairdo’, the melodies on Finn are lovely. ‘Last Day of June’ may be the most beautiful song Neil has written, and its low-key arrangement amplifies its fragility. ‘Angels Heap’, a lovely nostalgic ode to a vintage car, spotlights a similarly enchanting melody. When the Finns undertake fuller bodied arrangements on ‘Suffer Never’ and ‘Kiss the Road of Rarotonga’, they also sound fantastic.
While it’s purposefully low key, Finn delivers some of the brothers’ most solid songwriting, and I’m not sure either of the Finns have made a better album since.