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Woodface – Crowded House

Crowded House Woodface

Woodface

(1991), 7.5/10
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.

7 thoughts on “Woodface – Crowded House Leave a comment

  1. I will drop a comment on here. I have these first 3 albums and like them all. No good reason why I didn’t keep up with the rest of their output. Onto other music I guess. What you have done is to remind me to revisit and check out the later albums. (Will be getting to Freedy Johnston in a few days. Looking forward to it. Let you know what I think)

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    • Together Alone (the next one) is my favourite – Froom was very good, but the band sound better without him here, and Mark Hart beefs up their sound. I’m less excited about the reunion stuff – the band doesn’t feel the same without Paul Hester, and it’s essentially Neil Finn solo. If you want more Neil Finn after that, I’d suggest going backwards to Split Enz’s Time And Tide. 1975’s Mental Notes is also excellent, but is before Neil Finn joined the band – it’s more like weird art rock.

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        • I like Chocolate Cake, but it was a strange choice for a lead single in the USA. Might have been good buried somewhere in the second side, or as a b-side, but it doesn’t set the tone of the album very well.

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        • You’d know more of that stuff than I would. I didn’t even know it was a single (CB wasn’t a big radio guy. even less of one today). . Certain lyrics stick with us and that is one that stuck for me. Listening to ‘Weather with you’ reminds me how much I like their music and this record. Overdue for a listen. Good choice.

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        • Chocolate Cake was the first single everywhere, which is weird because I never remember hearing it on the radio, while the other singles from the album got plenty of play in New Zealand.

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        • Radio and that whole game of what’s played and what’s not is beyond me. Same as films, CB always thought they were hiding the good stuff somewhere else. I think I found out about CH from something Bruce Springsteen said about them. See you later on my next visit.

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