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I'm really enjoying two thirds of this album, and there are a few songs that are exceptional in my opinion. I'm a huge Together Alone fan and my favourite songs on this record are the ones that have that similar soulfulness, beautiful chord changes and moody atmospherics. 'Goodnight Everyone', 'Too Good For This World' and 'Bad Times Good' are all brilliant. I love the lyrics on this record, and his phrasing. Anyone else feel this way?

I've had a few reasonably focused listens and I'm becoming increasingly convinced a great set of songs have been turned into "challenging growers" because of deliberate tempo, arrangement and production choices. That's not a bad thing to me, personally, because some of my, now, favorite Finn songs are challenging growers on which I accepted the challenge - and they grew on me.

It's almost like an ironic, reverse-Intriguer situation - where on that album, a great set of songs were over-polished until they were rendered a bit sterile, on DAW, it's like the extra pandemic down time was used to overthink how to make it feel more live and spontaneous - as if no overthinking was involved.

If each of these songs were played at a more lively pace, with more sense of energy/urgency and the production was more crisp, they'd have the more immediate impact early CH material had. As it is now, the dreamy, hazy textures make me feel like I'm sightseeing in a beautiful city as a thick fog rolls in. Basically, like quite a bit of Neil's work post-CHmk1, this album will really benefit from a strong gust of time.

Bad Times Good (9/10) - beautiful start… reminds me of some the best XTC songs from their later years. Lush arrangements, great instrumentation.

Playing with Fire (8/10) - amazing mix of genres; funk intertwines with Burt Bacharach/Mancini type middle section. Feels like Neil channeling Brian Wilson.

(Extra points to the production team for the segway into the next track… love it!)

To the Island (10/10) - perfection! It sounds better in the context of this album than it did a few months ago as a Youtube video. This song is Crowded House at its best. I would have no problem lining this up with any of their Greatest Hits.

Sweet Tooth (7/10) - John Lennon meets David Bowie. This song could have fit nicely on Everyone Is Here.
IMO - its begging for a dance-style extended mix.

Whatever You Want (8/10) - Another song that benefits from the context of a full album. Lots of layers (vocals and instruments) that create a great texture. Nick’s (masterful) bass playing featured more prominently thank in any other CH song that I can recall.

Show Me The Way (9/10) - throw back (way back) to Neil’s TWT days, with a tinge of Mitchell Froom’s ‘Dopamine’. Beatles style  choruses. Not sure why, but the rhythm reminds me of a Western. Dark Cowboy-version of Sinner…

Goodnight Everyone (7/10) - evocative of a coastal drive or early evening surfing. I think this is Elroy on Vocals (maybe Liam?), wonderful job. Sounds like it was written and recorded during the ‘Sun Came Out’ sessions.

Too Good For This World (9/10) - Can’t help to think this song is about Paul. The brushes, the reference to wings (Paul on the cover of the first CH album). The rhythm kinda carries forward from the previous 2 songs (the western feel). Then turns into a hopeful singalong. Tim’s influence here is magic…

Start of Something (7/10) - at this point the Tarantino-vintage-western thing is starting to sound a little repetitive after 4 songs… This one has Liam written all over it (in a very good way). Here’s where the record stops sounding like Crowded House for me. A solid song, and could easily be the best song off of a Liam solo record.

Real Life Woman (8/10) - sounds like 8it belongs on Double Fantasy. The treatment of the vocals is 100% Lennon; even Elroy’s drumming sounds like it’s off that album.
I really like this song, and have a feeling it will continue to grow. I also hear some of the TOE angst in there…

Love Isn't Hard At All (9/10) - what a great song! Has a modern 80’s sound (kind of the same way Too Blue from The Sun Came Out had). It reminds me of The Smiths, The Cure, David Gray, and Duran Duran in the best possible way, still it sounds fresh. Performed live (with the right stripped down arrangements) this could be the highlight of the setlist.

Deeper Down (8/10) - back to the Western Saloon thing, but with a very unique combination of chords and arrangements. This song is the strangest one of the bunch in a very quirky, fun, and musically interesting kind of way. I picture a 70’s type movie, with a hot air balloon, and the Muppets going on some crazy adventure…



Overall I find this album to be fresh, creative and a giant leap forward for Crowded House. I could see them having a lot of fun with these songs in a live setting and can’t wait to see what amazing things the band will do next year during a proper world tour.

Best of all - the potential for an even better follow-up album is definitely there, which could signal ‘MASTERPIECE AHEAD’…

@Paināporo posted:

Well, then you know what we must do.

I don't doubt that he doesn't enjoy the album and everyone is of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there is something extra pathetic when racing to somewhere like Amazon reviews to declare it a flat-out, irredeemable dud on what was probably the release day.  Facebook fan groups for bands in general are awful for this, every angry disappointed dad needs his own "I DON'T LIKE IT" thread the second they've listened to a new album for the first time.

Last edited by Candyland Joe

Bad Times Good (9/10) - beautiful start… reminds me of some the best XTC songs from their later years. Lush arrangements, great instrumentation.

Playing with Fire (8/10) - amazing mix of genres; funk intertwines with Burt Bacharach/Mancini type middle section. Feels like Neil channeling Brian Wilson.

(Extra points to the production team for the segway into the next track… love it!)

To the Island (10/10) - perfection! It sounds better in the context of this album than it did a few months ago as a Youtube video. This song is Crowded House at its best. I would have no problem lining this up with any of their Greatest Hits.

Sweet Tooth (7/10) - John Lennon meets David Bowie. This song could have fit nicely on Everyone Is Here.
IMO - its begging for a dance-style extended mix.

Whatever You Want (8/10) - Another song that benefits from the context of a full album. Lots of layers (vocals and instruments) that create a great texture. Nick’s (masterful) bass playing featured more prominently thank in any other CH song that I can recall.

Show Me The Way (9/10) - throw back (way back) to Neil’s TWT days, with a tinge of Mitchell Froom’s ‘Dopamine’. Beatles style  choruses. Not sure why, but the rhythm reminds me of a Western. Dark Cowboy-version of Sinner…

Goodnight Everyone (7/10) - evocative of a coastal drive or early evening surfing. I think this is Elroy on Vocals (maybe Liam?), wonderful job. Sounds like it was written and recorded during the ‘Sun Came Out’ sessions.

Too Good For This World (9/10) - Can’t help to think this song is about Paul. The brushes, the reference to wings (Paul on the cover of the first CH album). The rhythm kinda carries forward from the previous 2 songs (the western feel). Then turns into a hopeful singalong. Tim’s influence here is magic…

Start of Something (7/10) - at this point the Tarantino-vintage-western thing is starting to sound a little repetitive after 4 songs… This one has Liam written all over it (in a very good way). Here’s where the record stops sounding like Crowded House for me. A solid song, and could easily be the best song off of a Liam solo record.

Real Life Woman (8/10) - sounds like 8it belongs on Double Fantasy. The treatment of the vocals is 100% Lennon; even Elroy’s drumming sounds like it’s off that album.
I really like this song, and have a feeling it will continue to grow. I also hear some of the TOE angst in there…

Love Isn't Hard At All (9/10) - what a great song! Has a modern 80’s sound (kind of the same way Too Blue from The Sun Came Out had). It reminds me of The Smiths, The Cure, David Gray, and Duran Duran in the best possible way, still it sounds fresh. Performed live (with the right stripped down arrangements) this could be the highlight of the setlist.

Deeper Down (8/10) - back to the Western Saloon thing, but with a very unique combination of chords and arrangements. This song is the strangest one of the bunch in a very quirky, fun, and musically interesting kind of way. I picture a 70’s type movie, with a hot air balloon, and the Muppets going on some crazy adventure…



Overall I find this album to be fresh, creative and a giant leap forward for Crowded House. I could see them having a lot of fun with these songs in a live setting and can’t wait to see what amazing things the band will do next year during a proper world tour.

Best of all - the potential for an even better follow-up album is definitely there, which could signal ‘MASTERPIECE AHEAD’…

Thank you for such a great run down.  

I am listening again with headphones on and enjoying the way the layers and textures are revealing themselves with each play.

The less immediate and familiar songs are my favourites, along with ‘Sweet Tooth’ which is immediate, very catchy and should surely have been the lead single.

I don't doubt that he doesn't enjoy the album and everyone is of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there is something extra pathetic when racing to somewhere like Amazon reviews to declare it a flat-out, irredeemable dud on what was probably the release day.  Facebook fan groups for bands in general are awful for this, every angry disappointed dad needs his own "I DON'T LIKE IT" thread the second they've listened to a new album for the first time.

Yes; it’s pathetic and entitled.

I’ve wasted hours in the Facebook groups challenging a few of the worst trolling, but it’s pointless really.

”Strangest Friends” doesn’t begin to cover it…

I like it, but I don't love it.... yet. I've listened to it a few times on headphones and it definitely has a downbeat, mellow vibe overall. Production values are warm/analogue, and I found Neil's vocals not mixed forward enough on some tracks. What stands out to me is the bass, and assumably Nick has really excelled himself here. Complex, interesting, I've never noticed them as much before.

Does it sound like Crowded House? Well, if Crowded House = anything Neil does then absolutely. This feels like an evolution from Time On Earth. But if Crowded House = anything like the first 2 albums, definitely not. I don't call it pop, and things have gone in a more rock direction (which is fine).

I hope it's a grower, Time On Earth certainly was, but there's hope for more. To The Island is the best track in my view. Enjoy everyone!

I'll preface this by saying that I love the album but I also can't resist playing with different track arrangements. I do think the album suffers a bit in the second half by having too many mid-tempo songs that sound too similar. Specifically, I struggle with the Liam songs. I've liked Liam as a solo artist for well over a decade now and I don't dislike his two songs - "Goodnight Everyone" and "Start of Something" - but they don't bring any new flavors to the record.

I think that if you're going to be featured on a Crowded House album, you need to bring something to the mix that isn't well covered by Neil's typical writing. Paul Hester's songs added a sense of humor to the albums. Tim's "All I Ask" added a 1950's crooner thing to Woodface. But Neil doesn't need more pleasant mid-tempo pop songs. Elroy's "Love Isn't Hard At All" works well because it adds a  lighthearted upbeat number with a distinct groove that isn't found elsewhere on the record.

So, with all of that said, I've retooled the setlist a bit, which is something I love to do with every Finn release.

First, I wanted to find a way to extend the perfection that is the first six tracks of the album. So, I moved the best of the ballads from the second half, "Too Good For This World," up to track 5, following "Sweet Tooth". The album can handle a slower song here before diving into "Whatever You Want". Then, I moved "Love Isn't Hard At All" to after "Show Me The Way." It's the perfect upbeat number to break the sombre mood of SMtW.

After that, I basically removed the Liam tracks and added in "Find Your Way Back Home." I'm hoping we get to hear some more b-sides from this album. Sounds like some earlier recordings may have been abandoned.

  1. Bad Times Good
  2. Playing With Fire
  3. To The Island
  4. Sweet Tooth
  5. Too Good For This World
  6. Whatever You Want
  7. Show Me The Way
  8. Love Isn't Hard At All
  9. Real Life Woman
  10. Find Your Way Back Home
  11. Deeper Down

I’ve listen to this album now 5 times. Well wow. Side B for me 😀 I respect all of yr thoughts and opinions. I don’t pretend to know it all but I do know a great song when I hear it and it’s everything on side B for me. Am feeling like Love isn’t hard at all is unfinished though. My only complaint lol. Deeper Down is just perfect. Real life woman gosh. 👌 Start of something is hopefully the start of more and Goodnight everyone has the country American I love and as someone wrote above spaghetti western. Something for everyone on this album.  I hear European Romance.  I hear the Gibbs brothers influence. I hear Lennon. I hear 70s 80s hope. Happy I am 😀

I might be alone here, but Show Me The Way, to put it kindly, is a b-side if ever I heard one and its placement on the album really causes it to drag and doesn't set up the following three songs well.  However, I like everything else about the album.

In a certain way, I agree...it's heavy on atmosphere and might be better placed on the album. It sounds like a lost B-side from Try Whistling This and also the Rain soundtrack. But I love the B-sides from Try Whistling This and the Rain soundtrack! I find this one getting stuck in my head.

Last edited by slowpogo

The reviews in the papers are amazing, it's going to be, I hear, no 4 in the UK charts and yet I'm too bored by it to get past 4 or 5 songs (I have of course listened to rest of them, but I've never managed it in one go). What's wrong with me? I'm going to try again and again. Finn has all the good will in the world from me, so it must be my fault.

Last edited by WhoMe?

The thing that strikes me about Dreamers are waiting are the cohesiveness and tightness of the band that allows the pleasure, figures, and nuances of the songs to bubble up and delight. They backed away from the post-modern recording loudness and compression of everything after Everyone is Here...that left the instruments murky and disorienting.

There's a second lesson that touring with Fleetwood Mac provided, besides the joy of playing with a band... it was the level of professionalism required to make classics sound great.  It's not that Neil isn't a highly accomplished professional musician and songwriting...it's just that the engineering and production suffered for awhile.  For example, the steel guitar on Even a Child is oversaturated. Amsterdam has the makings of a classic.  But there's something that's a bit off that limits its elevation. Like the hi-hat just isn't mic-ed right or there's distortion that almost makes the hi-hat sound drum machine like in quality. Intriguer doesn't take off and fly until the jailbreak jam on Isolation (3:15 ). I agree with the premise that Time on Earth and Intriguer feel like a hybrid of a solo effort and Crowded House (and literally on Time on Earth)

There's an extra layer of focus and intent on Dreamers are Waiting.  It's a palpable. Clarity even when in a dreamscape.



It doesn't reach that sing along anthem-filled Together Alone or Woodface.  But what does?

Last edited by Doctor Mu

I heard the light criticism above about Liam not bringing anything new to the table and a thought occurred to me, which just seemed like slightly off topic  - thought it's related to both the comment about and the subject thread, itself, in a way.

What if, by having Liam and Elroy in the band, Nei was thinking about the long game. How Split Enz started with Tom and Phil for years, with many line up changes, including big ones like, first, Phil leaving, Neil joining, Paul joining, Tim leaving - Neil, eventually took over and they end a very different band then when they begin.

What if Neil is playing the long game, perhaps intuitively, where he brings Liam and Elroy into CH, allows/indulges his sons to write more CH-feeling songs on their first CH album. They are credited with quite a few co-writes and a solo write by Liam (which, honestly, I think is great). That way they get to really enjoy playing in the CH sandbox they grew up in, they feel blended in the whole sound and vibe while also being a part of the sonic evolution,  and by not sticking out like musical sore thumbs, they'd be more easily accepted by the audience as true Crowdies.

Just for the sake of discussion and possibility, can one "first impression" of this album be it's a first step, depending on how it goes and how the various members feel, but Neil is laying the groundwork for Liam and Elroy to evolve into what may be future CH without him? If it were to happen too quickly, they could feel a glorified cover band keeping CH music alive. But after a few albums with Neil where their contributions to each grow, Neil starts laying the ground work in interviews, Liam and Elroy take more vocal leads on older catalog songs in concert so people get used to them singing them and, pretty soon, the audience better accepts Liam and Elroy as, both, essential CH members.  Then they announce their first CH lin-up and album, on which, Neil only co-writes a couple songs for continuity an, thus, CH continues. Again, just a thought that I see as neither bad or good - depending on the music.

I don't disagree, That's What I Call Love, I was just asking the question. Depending on the band (Split Enz being a good example), it could work and be fine (I mean, CH is already a VERY different band in most major ways than the 1985 version and it hasn't really hurt them apart from a general "nothing beats the first 4 albums" opinion). Without Neil, though, it would be a tough sell unless the hypothetical process I mentioned above slowly made a Liam-led CH seem fairly natural and organic - and Liam and Elroy start REALLY bringing in songs on par with Neil (or Neil/Tim) on the next few potential CH albums. Even then they both have solo careers as outlets for their songs. A Liam/Neil "Son Of Finn" duet album, as well as both Neil and Tim's sons all joining together to "Seeds Of Finn," which, considering  all the mixing and matching they do, isn't that unlikely.

I am about 10 listens into this album and for the first time ever there are no songs that I am skipping. I am enjoying them all. The closest that came to being skipped was Love Isn't Hard at All because of the lyrics, but by the second or third listen I was able to get past the lyrics and just enjoy the music. Now I find myself singing along to the song.

I am also loving Deeper Down at the moment. Listening to it in the car this morning I was reminded a bit of Straight Old Line.

The only complaint I have with this album so far is that it is disturbing my sleep. The last few nights I have woken up with various songs running through my head. It's great that Neil is still doing this to me after all these years.

I wonder how many other people here experienced the 80s/90s CH records as truly revelatory experiences. That genuine shiver down the spine upon first listen. The feeling of really resonating with the author on a deep level.

I was in my teens/twenties then, though, and we do experience things differently in that age range.

I still remember exactly where I was the first time I heard Kare Kare

I still remember exactly where I was the first time I heard Kare Kare

I remember each occasion I played a new Crowded House studio album for the first time, from 1986 to 2020. Which room I was in, the equipment I used and my reaction to the music. Together Alone is the only one for which I can recall the weather: suitably drizzly on a late afternoon, with the NZ reserve outside my window.

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