Try Whistling This

(1998), 6.5/10
For his first solo record, Try Whistling This, Neil Finn made an intentional effort to distance himself from Crowded House – the title challengers listeners to find catchy tunes. He dabbles with new textures, and with its programming it’s very much a record of the late 1990s. I remember being disappointed in it at the time, and it’s a little underwhelming coming off the heels of the excellent Together Alone and Finn – but it’s also a valiant attempt to stake out some new territory. One of its problems is it’s too long; the last four songs drag with their languid, spacey arrangements; for its first nine tracks Try Whistling This is much stronger. The first single ‘She Will Have Her Way’ is confusingly unrepresentative – it’s straight up power pop which could have come from True Colours or Crowded House, without a hint of experimentation. Despite some sonic candy, the gorgeous ‘Sinner’ is essentially a pretty piano ballad, while the rockers like ‘Souvenir’, ‘Twisty Bass’ and ‘Loose Tongue’ benefit from their electronic arrangements. Try Whistling This is a bold experiment with some great tracks – it just needed some trimming.

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