I thought that I ve seen everything here; but that 3 out of 4 members of original Crowded House incl. (most relevant thing) song writing force and singer of band, shouldnt called themselves Crowded House in new incarnation??? LOL
Its more and more obvious, what I stated in time of "Intriguer" that we have big differences between fans who followed CH in time of first incarnation and those who became fans later, like me. I saw CH two times: 2007. Wien, and 2008. Zurich. They were just great, cohessive, fresh, their ages (in 50s) didnt really seems to bother them. And they were showed excellent positive togetherness vibe! Ofcourse, I cant compare it with earlier incarnation (80,90s) but reading some Neils interviews seems like it wasnt always like that. Not only in time of Pauls leaving in 94., but Neil stated that in Woodface era was pretty much tensions between members. So, new incarnation brought some new more positive vibe, and in my opinion, Matt with his positive energy and warmness put much of that on the table.
As for real new CH record Intriguer (TOE was only partly) seems like that distinction between "old" and "new" fans also had big matter - "old" fans seems like had much bigger issues with that album. 6 years later, I have almost the same opinion that Intriguer is great record, to me one the best in Neils career. Only few thing went wrong seems to me: first of all which dont bother me as close as many fans - too much infuence of Wilco on some of songs, maybe through his producer Jim Scott, but even more because of Neils spending time with them in that era. Seems like many of you had problems with that and I respect that. I agree that Amsterdam should became better on record and record in the whole lack some energy. This how Amstardam is much more interesting in live than on Intriguer. Second thing, some of best and interesting songs from that time dropped out of album: Intriguer song with Neils singing was just too great and exotic to be missedout and given to competition. It should be on 10.th position where it was till last moment, just to break two slow song in the end. Second thing, song "Only way to go is forward" should not only be on album, but It should be first single and open song. Ofcourse, I am talking about live version from tour, dont even know if its recorded in studio.
If I am talking about best songs from Intriguer, seems to me they are not any worse than best from previous albums - I made some private best of CH, about 20 songs, including TIYL, ESOTW, FD and Intriguer, nobody who listened this compilation didnt notice any difference between these and old songs. They were equaly good, most of listeners pointed TIYL as one of the best of catologue.
In the end; I am hoping that CH isnt through. I still think that Neil gave his best with this band, and he is still capable to give his best with them. Plus, my only chance to see Neil live somewhere near Croatia is with CH. Pajama Club still didnt touch me and still think its with One Nil lowest point in his career. Also I think that (sory Neil for honesty) influence of his family (wife and son) in past few years didnt get him musical inspiration which would be recognizable or memorable or musicaly attractive. Dizzy Heights was very good, but something tells me it would be better with CH band.
Stay well, bliss and bless.