Woodface is the result of two separate recording projects; an attempt at a third Crowded House album, and Neil Finn’s collaboration with his older brother Tim. The sessions for the Crowded House album were not particularly fruitful, and the Finn’s album was only half completed, so Neil decided that the best solution would be to combine the two. Not surprisingly Woodface comes out disjointed, even though Mitchell Froom worked on both projects. Woodface contains some of Crowded House’s best work, but like a lot of albums from the early CD era, it’s overlong and it drags in places.
Highlights include the signature singles ‘Weather With You’ and ‘Four Seasons in One Day’, both with plenty of meteorological references and Finn brothers harmonies, but ‘Fall At Your Feet’, a solo Neil effort, might be the best song with its harmony laden chorus. The opener ‘Chocolate Cake’ is awkward, and effectively killed their American career with the line “the excess of fat on your American bones”, while ‘There Goes God’ is also controversial, but stronger musically. The second half is less convincing – you could remove the four tracks from ‘Fame Is’ to Hester’s ‘Italian Plastic’ without losing much, although Tim’s vocal on torch song ‘All I Ask’ is gorgeous. But the album ends strongly with hidden treasure ‘She Goes On’ and ‘How Will You Go?’
There’s a bit too much filler on Woodface – it would have been a terrific 10 track album – but it contains some of the band’s best loved songs.