Time on Earth
Original Crowded House drummer Paul Hester took his own life in 2005, the catalyst for the first Crowded House album for fourteen years. Neil Finn is rejoined by Nick Seymour and Mark Hart, while Beck sideman Matt Sherrod replaces Hester as drummer. Time on Earth is an elegant set of songs, largely inspired by Hester’s passing, and it’s a fitting tribute to him. But it also feels like it’s missing the spark that Hester bought to the original group, and at almost an hour it’s much too long and it drags in places. The best songs are generally the most mournful and beautiful – the piano led ‘Pour La Monde’ is gorgeously infused with harmony vocals, while ‘People Are Like Suns’ is a pretty orchestrated conclusion. ‘Nobody Wants To’ is a strong opener, while ‘Silent House’ scores with memorable pop hooks. If you’re a fan of Neil Finn’s impeccable song craft and tasteful arrangements you may rate this much higher than I do; Time on Earth is too long and it doesn’t feel enough like Crowded House for me to rank it up with their initial run of studio albums.