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What a relief!  The album is significantly better than I was expecting.  

I was slightly underwhelmed by the single releases & worried that the album would be a disappointment.  

After one and a bit listens, there are at least 4 or 5 tracks that I like much more than the singles (although I do like Playing With Fire).

Sweet Tooth is going to be very good as part of the live set, I suspect.

Is Stevie Nicks, the Real Life Woman?  Did she take exception to something Neil said?

Start Of Something is a great track which bodes well for future Neil/Liam compositions.

Overall, I think it’s a good album.  For me, Whatever You Want is the weakest track, which has turned out to be good news.

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Haven't managed to get a copy of the album yet, but I would be interested in what people think of the 'sound' of the album. I don’t have the technical words to describe this, but with the exception of Out of Silence, Neil's releases after Time on Earth have sounded bad to my ears. I buy CDs, and rip them to a USB. I am unable to play either the CD or the ripped version at any decent volume because of the sound. Almost as though there is too much base, even when I have the base turned down and the treble up.

I listened for the first time very early this morning, lying frozen in my bed ;-) I did not enjoy it much first time round and after the last track, I thought "That's it??"

Second listen, tonight on the way home, frozen on my bike :-D I enjoyed it a lot more.

My favourite moment so far is the opening bars of Bad Times Good. The warm embrace I always need these days.

Agree that Sweet Tooth is a highlight. Reminds me that CH songs don't necessarily have to be big emotional pieces. They can just make us feel good. Some Fleetwood Mac influence here?

This is kind of a post-romantic CH? There are no big love songs here. A brave, subtle new world.

I think it's a real shame that songwriting credits are not included on streaming services. The Wikipedia stub for this record also lacks these details.

Last edited by Byrds Talk to Me
@Zephyr posted:

Haven't managed to get a copy of the album yet, but I would be interested in what people think of the 'sound' of the album. I don’t have the technical words to describe this, but with the exception of Out of Silence, Neil's releases after Time on Earth have sounded bad to my ears. I buy CDs, and rip them to a USB. I am unable to play either the CD or the ripped version at any decent volume because of the sound. Almost as though there is too much base, even when I have the base turned down and the treble up.

I'm no audio expert myself, but perhaps it's the compression that's often used to make songs sound LOUDER these days.

I don't mean the compression that makes audio files smaller, but the production technique that makes songs sound LOUDER overall. :-)

Based on the first listen, I think this is a special record - there is a really warm atmosphere within the songs and the writing credits appear to be shared out fairly evenly - think I see Tim has a co credit in it (although no vocal?), Liam has a couple of credits and I think a lead vocal too ( which I was pleased as I like his voice - similar but still slightly different to both Neil and Tim).

I agree that it is 'a piece', the songs flow nicely and it feels already like a record you may want to listen to from start to end.

I think its a very very strong set of songs.... a fine record on the first listen.

I listened for the first time very early this morning, lying frozen in my bed ;-) I did not enjoy it much first time round and after the last track, I thought "That's it??"

Second listen, tonight on the way home, frozen on my bike :-D I enjoyed it a lot more.

My favourite moment so far is the opening bars of Bad Times Good. The warm embrace I always need these days.

Agree that Sweet Tooth is a highlight. Reminds me that CH songs don't necessarily have to be big emotional pieces. They can just make us feel good. Some Fleetwood Mac influence here?

This is kind of a post-romantic CH? There are no big love songs here. A brave, subtle new world.

I think it's a real shame that songwriting credits are not included on streaming services. The Wikipedia stub for this record also lacks these details.

The songwriting credits are displayed in Tidal.

From memory: 2 band compositions, one Neil & Tim, one Elroy and Neil, 2 Liam and Neil.  The rest are 100% Neil.

I’ll look later and list them out.

Last edited by Weightless Astronaut
@Zephyr posted:

Haven't managed to get a copy of the album yet, but I would be interested in what people think of the 'sound' of the album. I don’t have the technical words to describe this, but with the exception of Out of Silence, Neil's releases after Time on Earth have sounded bad to my ears. I buy CDs, and rip them to a USB. I am unable to play either the CD or the ripped version at any decent volume because of the sound. Almost as though there is too much base, even when I have the base turned down and the treble up.

I’ve listened to the streamed MQA version only, so far, but it sounds very good to me.  

The production is modern but has still managed to capture a bit of the early Crowded House feel.

Unfortunately, I find this record dull/flat, and a lot of the songs sounds the same. There are 5/6 songs which are ok (including the singles). But a lot of the songs have the same groove, which is - in my opinion - boring. After song 12, I thought, it sounded like the other 5 or 7 before. No surprises at all. If it would have bern more experimental, ok! This would have been interesting at least.

This is sad, I was looking forward to this new CH-lineup. I think, a missed oportunity. Intruiger is compared to DAW a diverse, better record, and that says a lot. On DAW, I miss the drums, the guitars, the rock, the rhythm, the hooky melodies. It looks like it is a continuation of Neils songwriting style in the last 10 years, which I didn't like very much.

This ist not CH, or at least: Not CH as we used to know. It would be better, Neil would have credited this Album as a Finn Family Record, with a little help from Nick and Michell.

Sad. But others have other opinions, which is ok for me!

Last edited by Patrick

Tried to listen through my Alexa this morning during breakfast; said it couldn't be found. Listening now at work through Spotify but really can't give it the volume or attention I'd like. CD should come today, I'll give it a proper listen through headphones, but overall, liking what I hear.

Just heard "Start of Something", I swear I've heard it before. Did Neil give a preview on Fangradio, or resurrect an old demo that I may have picked up from Jane? Anybody else have that? I'm sure I have it at home, I'll have to figure out where I got it from.

I do agree that much of it seems like a continuation of recent Neil work, but are we placing unrealistic expectations on him? After all, does anyone really think McCartney III stacks up well with Sgt Pepper? Will Bowie's final Black Star (which got favorable reviews) hold up like Ziggy Stardust? I can think of very few "long-standing" artists whose later work is considered as strong as the work that "broke" them. Just a thought.

I'm no audio expert myself, but perhaps it's the compression that's often used to make songs sound LOUDER these days.

I don't mean the compression that makes audio files smaller, but the production technique that makes songs sound LOUDER overall. :-)

This certainly used to be true but hasn’t really been a thing since streaming services became dominant. Spotify, Tidal etc have all adopted loudness standards (generally around -16 to -14 LUFS) which means even if you master something louder, it will get normalized down to that level. This effectively ended the Loudness Wars.

I think the culprit is Roundhead Studios, which seemed to dominate Neil’s recording (and sometimes mixing) process since The Sun Came Out (Dizzy Heights being a big exception, recorded at Dave Fridmann’s studio in NY). I think the old Neve console Neil goes on about just doesn’t sound great.

Anyway the new album was largely recorded outside of Roundhead which may be why it sounds better, to my ears.

Listening now.  Liking the production textures and arrangements of the album way more than anything from CH Mach 2.  Not loving the songs themselves yet, but that will come.  There’s always a thin line between “dreamlike” and MOR.  I like the echoes of early 70s glam in Real Life Woman, and I think Start of Something is ... well, the start of something, as it really feels like a new direction for CH.  

More thoughts to come, I’m sure.

Last edited by Watney Sideburns
@Kiwi posted:

Agree that “Whatever You Want” is one of the weakest songs on the album.

Once the song gets going it certainly gets stronger (it’s the start that falls flat for me).

I’ll post a longer review later but really enjoying the songs AND the sounds (great work Mitch).

Yes - it’s the opening “People will tell up I whatever you want” phrasing that I’m not keen on.  

Some elements of the song are ok, such as Nick’s funky bass lines, but overall it’s not a classic Finn track, for me.  However, it might well be transformed when played live.  There are several CH/NF songs that I enjoy live, where the recorded versions do not do much for me.

Listening now.  Liking the production textures and arrangements of the album way more than anything from CH Mach 2.  Not loving the songs themselves yet, but that will come.  There’s always a thin line between “dreamlike” and MOR.  I like the echoes of early 70s glam in Real Life Woman, and I think Start of Something is ... well, the start of something, as it really feels like a new direction for CH.  

More thoughts to come, I’m sure.

The 2 tracks you mention are definitely standouts.  And Sweet Tooth is the other one that has made most impact on me.  I also like Show Me The Way and the others are growing on me with further plays.

It is always interesting to read what people have to say on release day and the comparisons which are made. I will have another full listen tonight - have listened to random tracks through the day. If you're not so keen on it right now, be patient, sometimes the best records slowly grow on us.

It is interesting that as time moves on, many of us measure the newer records against the earlier releases. To me these are difficult comparisons. I think its fair to say that each of us has our own favourite Finn records, some of this is we just think one record is better than the other, some of it is probably where we were in lives back then and may be tinged with some of those memories, and some of it maybe the other types or styles of music we like.

Comparing the new songs to some of the established classics is also unfair - some of those songs are coming up for 30 years older than these new tracks.

For me, I don't hear many similarities to the records that Neil has put out in recent times. I can hear a more guitar based and more upbeat record - it is a band record.

Tried to listen through my Alexa this morning during breakfast; said it couldn't be found. Listening now at work through Spotify but really can't give it the volume or attention I'd like. CD should come today, I'll give it a proper listen through headphones, but overall, liking what I hear.

Just heard "Start of Something", I swear I've heard it before. Did Neil give a preview on Fangradio, or resurrect an old demo that I may have picked up from Jane? Anybody else have that? I'm sure I have it at home, I'll have to figure out where I got it from.

I do agree that much of it seems like a continuation of recent Neil work, but are we placing unrealistic expectations on him? After all, does anyone really think McCartney III stacks up well with Sgt Pepper? Will Bowie's final Black Star (which got favorable reviews) hold up like Ziggy Stardust? I can think of very few "long-standing" artists whose later work is considered as strong as the work that "broke" them. Just a thought.

I suppose it’s fairly evident that most artists produce their best work when they’re driven by some strong internal or external force.  It might be the optimism of youth, the pain of loss, jealousy, anger at injustice, a passionate relationship, or simply a lack of money!  

Sometimes it takes a mixture of factors, including consciousness-altering substances, to produce a masterpiece.  Rivalry helps too, as Lennon & McCartney showed so well.

Wealthy, contented artists, who live a settled and happy family life, probably tend to produce music that reflects the lack of angst in their lives.  

Of course, Black Star reflects Bowie’s thoughts at a time when he knew he was dying. That was the driving force, the inspiration and the thing that brought such focus to the project.  The album is not directly comparable to Ziggy Stardust, but it’s an amazing work in its own right. I think it’ll stand the test of time.


I think you’re right about the need to have realistic expectations.  But Neil’s done really well with the quality of his songwriting.  He rarely releases a dud.  By switching between his different “vehicles”, he’s kept himself motivated & continues to produce some great songs.  

Paul Weller is another artist whose voice, work ethic and quality control is holding up.  A Finn, Weller and Marr collaboration would be an interesting project!  But now I’ve gone completely off topic!

Last edited by Weightless Astronaut

Crikey, I never liked Weller after he started singing in an American accent in the 90s, having sung in his own accent up until then!

Although I agree it's difficult to compare the likes of ZS with Black Star, given the wildly different contexts of each album.

It's too early for me to make up my mind about this album yet. Whether or not it's fair to compare DAW with earlier CH output, I don't think the standard of songwriting is up there with Tohether Alone or Woodface, which I consider to be classic albums.

That said, from what I've heard, there are some really good lyrics in here, and some interesting textures. There always are.

Last edited by Welsh Dan
@Welsh Dan posted:


It's too early for me to make up my mind about this album yet. Whether or not it's fair to compare DAW with earlier CH output, I don't think the standard of songwriting is up there with Together Alone or Woodface, which I consider to be classic albums.

I don’t think these songs are as strong as those on the earlier “classic” albums.

If “Together Alone” was his “Plastic Ono Band”, Neil’s currently in his “Mind Games” period.  

Listening now.  Liking the production textures and arrangements of the album way more than anything from CH Mach 2.  Not loving the songs themselves yet, but that will come.  There’s always a thin line between “dreamlike” and MOR.  I like the echoes of early 70s glam in Real Life Woman, and I think Start of Something is ... well, the start of something, as it really feels like a new direction for CH.  

More thoughts to come, I’m sure.

So good to see you here after all these years. I hope you're well.

On about my 5th listen - had it on at work today. On first listen I really liked the first half of the album but felt it lost energy midway until it picked up again for the last 2 tracks. I might even say I was getting bored at a couple of points. Now some of my favourites are in the second half and - as usual with Mr FInn - things that weren't obviously hooking me on first listen are now buried in my brain.

I've given the new album three listens over the last day and a bit. By far, the strongest of the post-FWTTW albums in that there seems to be a greater variety of tempos, song styles and, most importantly, the sound seems fuller and richer with atmosphere (that was something the previous two records lacked for me).

Essentially, it feels like the Lightsleeper version of Woodface - that is absolutely a compliment. While I know tracks like "Elephants", "Even If" and "Falling Dove" receive a lot of love around here, I was personally relieved to find there's nothing like those songs on this album. I always found those three tracks too sparse and didn't leave me with a sense of the band. Everything on Dreamers, however? Even at its most downbeat (not that there's many of those moments here), the sense of the band never feels absent.

Standouts:

- Playing With Fire

- Sweet Tooth

- Whatever You Want

- Goodnight

- Real Life Stevie



It seems like a cliche at this point (let's face it, it is), but the album is growing with each listen. I may not agree with the decision to move forward without Mark, but I have to credit Neil with this album because it is good. Time On Earth felt too much like a piece caught between a solo album and a band record (which it was) while the songs on Intriguer never captured the promise of what we were treated to during the live performances leading up to the album.

But, this one has me.

I'm still waiting for mine to arrive, so listened online. I know it's going to grow on me, and he's still a genius, just miss some of that darkness in atmosphere. Loved Out Of Silence for that reason. This one is a different vibe, summery feeling almost. I keep thinking that these tunes are all similar to the sound of 'Lost Island'.

@Rowan5215 posted:

I can't seem to find the full credits anywhere - which song is the supposed co-write with Tim, anyone know?

Also - this album is bloody great, it's such a relief!

Bad Times Good

Producer:  Crowded House

Composers:  Neil Finn, Elroy Finn, Nick Seymour, Liam Finn

Lyricists:  Liam Finn, Elroy Finn, Nick Seymour, Neil Finn



Playing With Fire

Producer:  Crowded House

Composers:  Mitchell Froom, Elroy Finn, Nick Seymour, Liam Finn, Neil Finn

Lyricists:  Neil Finn, Elroy Finn, Nick Seymour, Liam Finn, Mitchell Froom



To The Island

Producer:  Crowded House

Composer:  Neil Finn

Lyricist:  Neil Finn



Sweet Tooth

Producer:  Crowded House

Composer:  Neil Finn

Lyricist:  Neil Finn



Whatever You Want

Producer:  Crowded House

Composer:  Neil Finn

Lyricist:  Neil Finn



Show Me The Way

Producer:  Crowded House

Composer:  Neil Finn

Lyricist:  Neil Finn



Goodnight Everyone

Producer:  Crowded House

Composer:  Liam Finn

Lyricist:  Liam Finn

Additional Vocals: Eliza-Jane Barnes



Too Good For This World

Producer:  Crowded House

Composers:  Neil Finn, Tim Finn

Lyricists:  Neil Finn, Tim Finn



Start Of Something

Producer:  Crowded House

Composers:  Liam Finn, Neil Finn

Lyricists:  Liam Finn, Neil Finn



Real Life Woman

Producer:  Crowded House

Composer:  Neil Finn

Lyricist:  Neil Finn



Love Isn't Hard At All

Producer:  Crowded House

Composers:  Elroy Finn, Neil Finn

Lyricists:   Neil Finn, Elroy Finn

Background Vocals: Sharon Finn



Deeper Down

Producer:  Crowded House

Composer:  Neil Finn

Lyricist:  Neil Finn

Sorry to say I found it hard to get through. I still know Neil is possibly my favourite songwriter, but nothing on here moves me. My measure for assessing his songs is whether they are going to be dropped off the set list in the future. I’ve got tickets for the UK tour in 2022, and I doubt if anything on this album will be played.  Not because they are too new to be appreciated but because they aren’t good enough.

@WhoMe? posted:

Sorry to say I found it hard to get through. I still know Neil is possibly my favourite songwriter, but nothing on here moves me. My measure for assessing his songs is whether they are going to be dropped off the set list in the future. I’ve got tickets for the UK tour in 2022, and I doubt if anything on this album will be played.  Not because they are too new to be appreciated but because they aren’t good enough.

Very unlikely that they will play nothing from this album. I was actually feeling a little bad about the upcoming tour dates because I’m sure the band is dying to play new material. But they’ll have to stick largely to CH classic or else there will be even more whining.

I am starting to wish they hadn’t called this album “Crowded House” but I can understand the attention it’s getting because of it. Heck, it’s number one in Australia. Who doesn’t want their art to be heard by the masses? I guess the whinefest 2021 is the price we have to pay.

@Welsh Dan posted:

I had to laugh when I went to watch Neil and Liam on the Lightsleeper tour. There was a couple in front of me who steadfastly only applauded Crowded House songs in the set. I was nearly as entertained watching them as I was the gig 😆

As someone who has seen a lot of Finn shows, that's hilarious. However, I've met some people who only became fans after Intriguer and the Lightsleeper tour was their first chance to see Neil play anything live. So yeah, it's a bit unfortunate. The Lightsleeper shows probably had the least CH content of any Neil Finn tour (other than Split Enz).

@Paināporo posted:

Here’s a first impression - I have a hard time getting to side 2 because side 1 is so incredibly good. I look forward to paying more attention to side two eventually, but the first 6 songs are just perfection. One after another. It’s so good! Haven’t felt that way about a Neil album since Everyone Is Here.

Agree!

Side one is awesome filled with groovy songs.

When you listen more to side two, you will find plenty of thoughtful and very catchy tunes.

Good times!!

Yes, what Painaporo said -- the first five songs are all magic.

I like the "Lightsleeper does Woodface" characterization of the album from TWT above -- and certainly those first five songs have the dreamlike vibe of the former, along with the textured arrangement and production of the latter.

I hear echoes of other moments in Neil's oeuvre: Playing with Fire -- still my favourite on the album for now, by quite a way -- has a moment that recalls the joyous longing of Distant Sun's final fadeout, and its final arpeggiated guitar reminds me of the last notes of Anytime.  Both echoes seem fitting, as this song too wishes for a different world than the messed-up one we're stuck with, and meditates -- obliquely -- on the inevitability of death.

But I admire this album mostly for being its own beast.  I've never heard them do anything like Bad Times Good.  Its melody may have a Liam feel to it, and its signature tempo changes might hark back to 70s prog rock (including Split Enz's early work); the overall texture of the song, however, is very much its own thing.  It's not an earworm like the strummed sing-along standouts from CH Mach 1's songbook, but hooray for that.  Neil at 63 is still experimenting -- even if the experiments are not too far from the middle of the road.  One can still devise fascinatingly unorthodox median strips for motorways, if you know what I mean.

Last edited by Watney Sideburns

I'm way more into the album than I expected to be.

I found it to be a breezy listen, perfect for summer. Unlike Lightsleeper, which frankly felt like a chore to get through, this one kept my interest up all the way through and left me eager to listen again. The production is sometimes pretty layered and dense and will take several listens to start to wrap my head around. But the sounds are stimulating indeed.

What some reviewers labeled as "country" in a few songs, I'm hearing more of a Southwestern spaghetti-Western vibe, reminding me of the great indie band Calexico. At other times I'm reminded of another of my favorite indie bands, the Pernice Brothers, who have a Beach Boys-meets-Smiths vibe. (Seriously, if you're enjoying this album check out the Pernice Brothers album Yours, Mine & Ours, you'll love it). In that same vein there's a strong Fender guitar vibe, California tones and spring reverb. If these are the kinds of influences Liam and Elroy are bringing, that's great.

While the production dressings often obscure the fact, it does sound like Crowded House to me. Hook-forward pop songs, of the type Neil hasn't written much of since Intriguer. This is immediately superior to that album in my view. I'm not yet convinced it's as good as Time On Earth but I'm convinced I might grow to love it with time. I didn't immediately pick out any "duds" and a handful, stuck out as pretty exceptional songs.

It has a brassy, ballsy energy that I enjoy. An example is the random, hilarious Tetris quote in Love Isn't Hard at All. And Whatever You Want, which I seem to appreciate more than many here.

If I have any immediate disappointment, it may be that Nick seems a little under-utilized. There are songs where he's doing the standard boring bass job of holding down the root, which could really benefit from the melodic riffing he's so good at. He gets to shine here and there but his personality seems a little obscured.

Overall, I'm appreciating the album for the potential it seems to hold. It feels like a breezy, confident first step for the new lineup, but I'm interested in hearing another album from them soon. It's not Neil's usual pattern but I really hope they build some steam, do some more touring and do another album together within a year or two.

Well, there you have it, from someone who's been sounding fairly negative in general on the forum, a quite positive review! I'll probably spill my thoughts more on individual songs after a few more listens.

Last edited by slowpogo

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