Paul H posted:
I agree with Stuart that it's the chemistry of the band I yearn for. It's just that I agree with Awamutu that it was lost when the drummer changed back in 1994. CH has been a fine band since; they've made some wonderful music that stands on its own, but so has Neil outside of CH. And, for my money, there's little difference now between Neil solo and CH, but a world of difference between current CH and the CH of 1992-93.
If band chemistry is one's concern, I don't know how anyone can argue it's the same, or as good, as when Paul was there, so I totally agree on that point.
I definitely disagree that there's little difference between Neil solo and CH. Time on Earth is easily my favorite thing Neil's done since 1996, and it's the one record where certain songs truly seem to harken back to the band's heyday. Nobody Wants To, Don't Stop Now in particular, but others too. There's a certain magic there when those guys (or even just Neil and Nick) play together, no matter how much Neil pretends it doesn't matter what name you put on his stuff. I can see how he would resist going to his grave as "the Crowded House guy" when he's done so much other stuff, and I think that's where that attitude of his comes from, but Crowded House is definitely it's own separate entity in my mind. I didn't like Intriguer very much, but I chalk a lot of that up to the production (I don't think Jim Scott was up to the task) and engineering (I don't like how things made in Roundhead Studios sound, sorry). The sound of Matt's drums, especially, doesn't work for me on Intriguer. And I can imagine how Mitchell Froom would have just knocked most of that album -- in particular something like Amsterdam, the most Crowded Housey song ever, which ended up weirdly inert and boring on Intriguer -- out of the park. I remember when Pajama Club came out, and more than one review noted that the most successful song on the album, TNT for Two, is also the one that sounds most like Crowded House. Go figure.
At this point I'd love to get just one more album from Crowded House. I wouldn't expect more than that, but I think they've got one left in them, and I'm confident they would bring the magic back once more. If all we ever get from them is one more studio album, and this upcoming remastered/rarity set, it would complete a great legacy for Crowded House and I'd be satisfied with it.