Lightsleeper Fan Reviews

Love it more and more with each listen. So many layers and interesting twists and turns. So many IDEAS flying around. The dreamy, shifting melodies and harmonies and sections pull you around gently, yet confidently. 

It's clearly not an insta-hook pop record, but Neil and Liam have done and will do plenty of that before and in the future. I'm really enjoying meeting this album on its own terms. 

On first listen, I'm pretty cool toward Lightsleeper.  The thing I like most is how it sounds, in terms of the actual sonics.  I don't like the sound of a lot of the stuff that's come out of Neil's studio (Pajama Club, Out of Silence, The Sun Came Out)...something kind of dry and flat about them, but this album sounds fantastic. Yes, a real headphones album. Tchad Blake does a wonderful job mixing these intricate arrangements and all their little blips and bloops, it has a real living, breathing, 3D quality to it. I think the above albums were mixed by Neil's in-house engineers, who are perfectly competent, but Tchad Blake shows what a difference artistry in the mixing stage makes.

As for the songs, nothing really stands out for me.  Maybe the first Neil Finn album ever I'd say that about.  I don't hate it, it's just...eh, never really does it for me.  I've already said enough elsewhere about my issues with Liam's voice, but in general, things are tipped too much toward Liam for my taste.  And the one song that's somewhat in the realm of "classic" Neil Finn -- Listen -- is ruined for me by the "talk singing" thing he's doing more and more of these days (where it sounds like he's talking rhythmically more than singing his usual way).

It's not that I mind Neil experimenting -- it's great that he wants to keep evolving -- but I think earlier albums like Try Whistling This or Together Alone demonstrate a far better marriage between his established strengths and his willingness to push boundaries.

Perhaps I need to just admit that what I really want from him is an album of classic pop songs with a band, and it seems more and more like he's not very interested in that.  The last thing he did like that, and the last album from him I really fell in love with, was Time On Earth, over a decade ago.  Maybe we'll never get another album like that again, who knows.  I do think it will be creatively invigorating for Neil to be in a band again that's not made up primarily of family members.  Nothing against Liam, Elroy and Sharon at all, but I hope Neil's next project finds new primary collaborators.

But, I'm glad others are finding a lot to enjoy with Lightsleeper.

I started to do a track by track earlier, but I've only listened two or three times as background while working. Think I'll wait and give it several proper headphone spins when my actual cd arrives. But so far, Back to Life is the earworm. Hoping some others will be growers, but I am loving the variety and sonic lushness.

As some of you know, I'm a huge fan of Out of Silence which has become one of my favorite Neil-related albums and one of my favorite albums of all-time.

Thus, any new Neil-related album will face a tough comparison for me. That being said, I absolutely adore Lightsleeper. The new album is completely different than Silence.

Where Silence had "zero fat" with immaculately crafted songs full of hard earned wisdom and emotion, Lightsleeper delights with wonderful detours into sonic alleys that ring with ear delights and surprise the listener with each repeat visit.

While Silence existed in a raw, organic, unpolished world, Lightsleeper is a polished diamond of an album rich in studio artistry and beauty. 

I can't even believe how amazed I am that Neil (along with Liam on this new album) has hit yet another massive creative peak some 40+ years into his amazing career.

It is a testament to Neil and all the Finns that they continue to follow their muse and allow it to lead them wherever it takes the music. The results are all the more powerful and we are so blessed that this "Finn process" has graced us with two masterpieces in Lightsleeper and Out of Silence.

This is a comment rather than a review, but does anyone else hear David Bowie’s “Sunday” at the beginning/ending of Any Other Way? It’s a nice little descending melody line.

Really enjoying the record so far. It feels comfortably like the next piece of the trajectory which runs through Pajama Club/Dizzy Heights/Out of Silence.

Thom Bullock posted:

This is a comment rather than a review, but does anyone else hear David Bowie’s “Sunday” at the beginning/ending of Any Other Way? It’s a nice little descending melody line.

Unfortunately I don’t know that Bowie song, but I’m strongly hearing John Lennon’s Hold On in the first part of We Know What It Means.  It was driving me nuts for awhile until I finally figured out which John Lennon song I was hearing.

I've just noticed that, not only does the vinyl have the "Trouble" bonus track, but the entire tracklisting is reordered from the digital download (which, I assume is the same as the CD?). There is SOME sense of connectivity between the songs, at least, in terms of atmospherics and moods and I wonder if the rearrangement makes a large difference and which is better? The whole album is a dreamy journey and moving the songs around could make a huge difference in terms of overall impact. 

Has anyone listened to both versions of the two different running orders and have preference? My sense is that the digital download and CD would be ordered with an ear for hearing it all straight through without a break, turning over discs and stuff, but flow is flow and I'm surprised they changed the order THAT much in the two versions. 

Thoughts? Preferences? Is there an even better ideal running order? Maybe the digital/CD tracklist with "Troubles" just added at the end? Curious...

I am feeling a great similarity between Lightsleeper and the first Finn Brothers album.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, because they sound nothing alike.  Let’s say it’s the vibe.  In some way that I can’t put into words, because it is so crazy hard to explain an emotional response to music.

I already suspect Lightsleeper is going to end up in my top 5 all time Finn records.

Wow, such a difference to my reaction to Out of Silence.  

Sorry I can’t be more eloquent about it, but putting words to an emotional response to music is very difficult.

What was I thinking, having low expectations of this album? *smacks self in forehead*. Neil and Liam complement each other perfectly.

I'm sticking with the vinyl track listing. I get that it was re-ordered to better suit the three songs per side situation, but I think it flows better and also provides instruction for the proper placement of "Troubles." I wouldn't just tack "Troubles" on to the end as "Hold Her Close" is obviously meant to be the closer.

This is how I hear the songs:

  1. Prelude- Island of Peace: Neil
  2. Meet Me In the Air: Neil & Liam (bit more Liam)
  3. Where's My Room: Neil & Liam (bit more Neil)
  4. Listen: Neil
  5. Any Other Way: Liam
  6. Back to Life: Neil & Liam (mostly Neil)
  7. Anger Plays a Part: Liam
  8. Troubles: Neil
  9. Hiding Place: Neil & Liam (mostly Liam)
  10. Ghost: Liam
  11. We Know What it Means: Neil
  12. Hold Her Close: Liam

So, Neil 4, Liam 4, and Neil & Liam 4 (with two leaning Liam and two leaning Neil)

Paināporo posted:

I'm sticking with the vinyl track listing. I get that it was re-ordered to better suit the three songs per side situation, but I think it flows better and also provides instruction for the proper placement of "Troubles." I wouldn't just tack "Troubles" on to the end as "Hold Her Close" is obviously meant to be the closer.

This is how I hear the songs:

  1. Prelude- Island of Peace: Neil
  2. Meet Me In the Air: Neil & Liam (bit more Liam)
  3. Where's My Room: Neil & Liam (bit more Neil)
  4. Listen: Neil
  5. Any Other Way: Liam
  6. Back to Life: Neil & Liam (mostly Neil)
  7. Anger Plays a Part: Liam
  8. Troubles: Neil
  9. Hiding Place: Neil & Liam (mostly Liam)
  10. Ghost: Liam
  11. We Know What it Means: Neil
  12. Hold Her Close: Liam

So, Neil 4, Liam 4, and Neil & Liam 4 (with two leaning Liam and two leaning Neil)

Interesting. Once I got a hold of "Troubles," I rejiggered the tracklist to match the vinyl for, as you say, proper placement of "Troubles," but my guess is if one were to actually break down who contributed what ideas and not just go by who is singing, you'll find the lines are much more blurred than the even divide you describe above, although I know you're speaking in generals. Neil's just been SO experimental recently, that I imagine he had fun playing more in Liam's world - and, probably, vice-versa. 

Yes, I don't doubt that this album was a full collaboration. I think Neil really wanted to produce music with Liam's influence and maybe even saw it as an excuse to let himself be more lose and experimental. It's hard to imagine "Where's My Room" on a Crowded House or Neil Finn solo album, but it's probably the best track on Lightsleeper.

But, if I'm making a best of Neil Finn Volume 5 compilation, I won't be including songs with strong Liam-led vocals. Just like I wouldn't include "Go Kart" or "Mood Swinging Man" even though I know Neil played a massive role in each.

Paināporo posted:

It's hard to imagine "Where's My Room" on a Crowded House or Neil Finn solo album, but it's probably the best track on Lightsleeper.

I agree that Where’s My Room is probably the best track on Lightsleeper.  That’s Tim’s daughter singing on that track, correct?  (Sorry, no liner notes because I bought the download.). That is one awesome track!  I am actually reminded somewhat of George Michael by the arrangement/production on that track, and I mean that as a very high compliment.

So far this morning I have Any other way swimmingly creeping up again and again. Back to Life is the main character here and Listen quenches my thirst for the dark and brooding. If there’s 3 on an album within 24 hours that make me smile then others will follow no doubt after a proper listening with headphones. This album is great but my only complaint is there’s no tours to push it. My fear,  it will disappear without a proper outing. In saying that who here feel Out of Silence was rushed in it’s outing also? 

Unlike the reviewer in the Guardian, I really like the experimental vibe. And I think that Liam has taken a step forward with this work.

I've not listened to the album enough to write a detailed review, but I hear interesting and good quality music. The other day I played Lightsleeper, Out of Silence, and Dizzy Heights in a row, and I thought how lucky we are that Neil is so musically active and is producing music of such quality. 

Here are my personal grades thus far (1-10) ... in the order of my playlist.

  1. Island of Peace - 08
  2. Where's My Room - 10           
  3. Back to Life - 10                        
  4. Any Other Way - 09        
  5. Troubles - 09                         
  6. Meet Me In The Air - 07             
  7. Anger Plays a Part - 09                
  8. Hiding Place - 09                          
  9. Listen - 10                       
  10. Ghost - 07
  11. We Know What it Means - 08
  12. Hold Her Close - 10

I can’t possibly grade them all, but at the moment I can give a rough ranking of a few of them.

Most Favorite:  Where’s My Room and We Know What It Means

Very Close to Most Favorite:  Island of Peace

Least Favorite:  Listen and Ghosts

The rest all sit somewhere in the middle, but aside from Listen and Ghosts I love every single track.

 

I'll give this a shot, now that I've heard it a bit more.

Island of Peace-lovely, a nice intro. Been too long since we've had that South Pacific vibe. 

Meet Me In the Air- the full (Neil) Finn family song I've been waiting for, both in playing and writing. Almost a bit Andy Partridge-ish, dreamy and atmospheric.

Where's my Room-Elliot and Harper! Where's Tim? Heavy Liam influence here, a bit meandering, but not bad.

Anger Plays a Part-closest thing to Liam's pop tunes. I hear a bit of Wilco here.

Listen- as stated by others, would have fit well on Out of Silence. Had heard this from the Jane site out of one of Neil's solo gigs. Seems a bit odd to find it here. Still, very nice song.

Any Other Way-Mostly Liam here, this one hasn't grabbed me yet, just never seems to go anywhere.

Back to Life-the earworm, this one stays in my head to most. The most Neil-sounding song, also would have fit on OOS, especially the beginning verse, and the choir. Love this one.

Hiding Place-another one that's a bit too languid to have taken hold yet, not to say that it won't. Sounds like a soundtrack piece.

Ghosts-I like this more than a lot of folks do. I like the rhythm, and the other-worldly feel.

We Know What It Means-sounds like a Dizzy Heights track to me, a lot like Recluse, especially the beginning.

Hold Her Close-Nice lullaby, love that they sent it to the NZ Prime Minister as a baby shower gift. 

Trouble-should have made the album.

 

All in all, I like this album. Like the variety, could have used a solid, pure pop "hit" type song, along the line of Cold Feet (Liam) or She Will Have Her Way (or even Second Nature). Also love the family involvement, at some point would like to see an album with all the Finns, and nothing but Finns, but that's just me. 

On a side note, what are the Devo Finns referred to in the liner notes?

 

 

 

Steve Shealy posted:

 On a side note, what are the Devo Finns referred to in the liner notes?

https://www.radionz.co.nz/nati...w-album-lightsleeper

Liam: There's even a brief feature by the Devo Finns on one track, there's Tim and Harper and Elliott on one track, singing - so we're all accountable.

Kim: Why do you call them the Devos?

Liam: They call themselves 'the Devos' - the Devonport Finns, because they live in Devonport - but I always read it as Devo Finns because I am a Devo fan, which I think we've even talked about once upon a time. 

brownie posted:
Steve Shealy posted:

 On a side note, what are the Devo Finns referred to in the liner notes?

https://www.radionz.co.nz/nati...w-album-lightsleeper

Liam: There's even a brief feature by the Devo Finns on one track, there's Tim and Harper and Elliott on one track, singing - so we're all accountable.

Kim: Why do you call them the Devos?

Liam: They call themselves 'the Devos' - the Devonport Finns, because they live in Devonport - but I always read it as Devo Finns because I am a Devo fan, which I think we've even talked about once upon a time. 

Thank you, Brownie! Awesome to know that Tim was involved; he wasn't otherwise listed.

The liner notes say they are a part of the choir on Back to Life, though in the quoted article Liam says they were on there originally, but "we took them off", so not sure what is right.

Elliott and Harper are listed individually on Where's My Room. 

The "thank you" section of the liner notes thanks the Devo Finns.

Steve Shealy posted:

The liner notes say they are a part of the choir on Back to Life, though in the quoted article Liam says they were on there originally, but "we took them off", so not sure what is right.

Elliott and Harper are listed individually on Where's My Room. 

The "thank you" section of the liner notes thanks the Devo Finns.

OOPS, Devo Finns also listed in choir on Island of Peace.

Steve Shealy posted:
Steve Shealy posted:

The liner notes say they are a part of the choir on Back to Life, though in the quoted article Liam says they were on there originally, but "we took them off", so not sure what is right.

Elliott and Harper are listed individually on Where's My Room. 

The "thank you" section of the liner notes thanks the Devo Finns.

OOPS, Devo Finns also listed in choir on Island of Peace.

Thank you, Steve!

brownie posted:
Steve Shealy posted:

Thank you, Brownie! Awesome to know that Tim was involved; he wasn't otherwise listed.

What song gives a credit to the Devo Finns?  No liner notes with the download purchase, unfortunately.

That would be a great band name for a Tim/Harper/Elliott project ... The DevoFinns.

Steve Shealy posted:

I'll give this a shot, now that I've heard it a bit more.

Island of Peace-lovely, a nice intro. Been too long since we've had that South Pacific vibe. 

Meet Me In the Air- the full (Neil) Finn family song I've been waiting for, both in playing and writing. Almost a bit Andy Partridge-ish, dreamy and atmospheric.

Where's my Room-Elliot and Harper! Where's Tim? Heavy Liam influence here, a bit meandering, but not bad.

Anger Plays a Part-closest thing to Liam's pop tunes. I hear a bit of Wilco here.

Listen- as stated by others, would have fit well on Out of Silence. Had heard this from the Jane site out of one of Neil's solo gigs. Seems a bit odd to find it here. Still, very nice song.

Any Other Way-Mostly Liam here, this one hasn't grabbed me yet, just never seems to go anywhere.

Back to Life-the earworm, this one stays in my head to most. The most Neil-sounding song, also would have fit on OOS, especially the beginning verse, and the choir. Love this one.

Hiding Place-another one that's a bit too languid to have taken hold yet, not to say that it won't. Sounds like a soundtrack piece.

Ghosts-I like this more than a lot of folks do. I like the rhythm, and the other-worldly feel.

We Know What It Means-sounds like a Dizzy Heights track to me, a lot like Recluse, especially the beginning.

Hold Her Close-Nice lullaby, love that they sent it to the NZ Prime Minister as a baby shower gift. 

Trouble-should have made the album.

 

All in all, I like this album. Like the variety, could have used a solid, pure pop "hit" type song, along the line of Cold Feet (Liam) or She Will Have Her Way (or even Second Nature). Also love the family involvement, at some point would like to see an album with all the Finns, and nothing but Finns, but that's just me. 

On a side note, what are the Devo Finns referred to in the liner notes?

 

 

 

Great comments. "Anger" reminds me of Liam's "Gather To The Chapel".  "Back To Life" and "Listen" must have been written at about the same time as the Silence songs and would have fit perfectly on that album. Same with "Never Return".  I really like "Any Other Way" and "Hiding Place". A lot of emotion in those songs.

brownie posted:
Steve Shealy posted:
Steve Shealy posted:

The liner notes say they are a part of the choir on Back to Life, though in the quoted article Liam says they were on there originally, but "we took them off", so not sure what is right.

Elliott and Harper are listed individually on Where's My Room. 

The "thank you" section of the liner notes thanks the Devo Finns.

OOPS, Devo Finns also listed in choir on Island of Peace.

Thank you, Steve!

You are quite welcome. BTW, the choir credits also list the Barnes Family. Don't know specifically who, but the "thank you" section thanks "EJ and Jimmy" and also "the Barnes Family".

Connan Mockasin and Jimmy Metherrell make up the rest of the choir.

I’ve only had one listen - bought the vinyl. First impression is that it’s a lot of atmospheric sound scapes , which I enjoy to a point . I’m sure as it unravels I’ll get into it more , although I’m still lukewarm on out of silence . 

Ever since Pajama club , there’s been a certain vibe about Neil’s work , and I have to say it’s not been my favourite period . 

I yearn for stuff like - you can touch , anthem , spirit of the stairs , Saturday Sun ,weather with you , sinner , instinct .... 

stuartjb posted:

I’ve only had one listen - bought the vinyl. First impression is that it’s a lot of atmospheric sound scapes , which I enjoy to a point . I’m sure as it unravels I’ll get into it more , although I’m still lukewarm on out of silence . 

Ever since Pajama club , there’s been a certain vibe about Neil’s work , and I have to say it’s not been my favourite period . 

I yearn for stuff like - you can touch , anthem , spirit of the stairs , Saturday Sun ,weather with you , sinner , instinct .... 

Musicians go through stages and it looks to me like Neil has moved through the guitar pop stage and into the atmospheric piano stage. Who knows where his muse will take him next but let's enjoy the ride ...

Sugar Mouse posted:
stuartjb posted:

I’ve only had one listen - bought the vinyl. First impression is that it’s a lot of atmospheric sound scapes , which I enjoy to a point . I’m sure as it unravels I’ll get into it more , although I’m still lukewarm on out of silence . 

Ever since Pajama club , there’s been a certain vibe about Neil’s work , and I have to say it’s not been my favourite period . 

I yearn for stuff like - you can touch , anthem , spirit of the stairs , Saturday Sun ,weather with you , sinner , instinct .... 

Musicians go through stages and it looks to me like Neil has moved through the guitar pop stage and into the atmospheric piano stage. Who knows where his muse will take him next but let's enjoy the ride ...

He hasn't done polkas yet. Or, has he? 

I think this is probably the album where I stop caring about Finn releases. Neil (and co) are of course free to persue which ever direction they which to take, but equally it's time to accept that, after what, 4 albums under various guises (solo/PJC & L+N) that I've at best tolerated and at worst think are just diabolical, it is time to check out and stop throwing money after albums I just get no enjoyment out of whatsoever.

IainK posted:

I think this is probably the album where I stop caring about Finn releases. Neil (and co) are of course free to persue which ever direction they which to take, but equally it's time to accept that, after what, 4 albums under various guises (solo/PJC & L+N) that I've at best tolerated and at worst think are just diabolical, it is time to check out and stop throwing money after albums I just get no enjoyment out of whatsoever.

Wow.  So sorry to hear that you find no enjoyment from Neil's recent work. I'm a huge fan of the Split Enz/Crowded House stuff and I also really enjoy Out of Silence and Lightsleeper. Dizzy Heights and Intriguer were solid to me but not great. I'm just happy that Neil continues to create.

Sugar Mouse posted:
IainK posted:

I think this is probably the album where I stop caring about Finn releases. Neil (and co) are of course free to persue which ever direction they which to take, but equally it's time to accept that, after what, 4 albums under various guises (solo/PJC & L+N) that I've at best tolerated and at worst think are just diabolical, it is time to check out and stop throwing money after albums I just get no enjoyment out of whatsoever.

Wow.  So sorry to hear that you find no enjoyment from Neil's recent work. I'm a huge fan of the Split Enz/Crowded House stuff and I also really enjoy Out of Silence and Lightsleeper. Dizzy Heights and Intriguer were solid to me but not great. I'm just happy that Neil continues to create.

It is sad that you feel that way. While I do long for the hey-day of Crowded House (I do feel like the "leftover" tracks from the bonus discs of Woodface, Together Alone, etc. are so much better than recent releases), Lightsleeper and Out of Silence are STILL so far above most of what is put out by other artists today. Can't remember the last new cd I bought by another artist, other than the new Beck one (Colors, excellent btw).  I will continue to buy anything any Finn puts out. I just do miss the pop hooks of, for instance, "Whispers and Moans". 

Totally legitimate to go separate ways from an artist you once loved. It's happened to me with other artists and I was actually really concerned about Lightsleeper. I thought Liam's last album was terrible and I was very concerned about what impact his work would have on Neil's.

To my pleasant surprise, Neil seems to have reeled in Liam's excesses and helped him produce some terrific straight forward pop songs (more akin to I'll Be Lightning). Neil continues to indulge his experimental side as he did with Pajama Club and Dizzy Heights, but I think he does so with much more warmth and joy on Lightsleeper. It just all sounds so natural and not forced at all - which I love.

It doesn't feel like Neil has tried to write a true pop song since Intriguer and I think that experience may have soured him on the whole process of creating pop music. I still think he will come back to it in time, but people were really hard on Intriguer and I think the band and Neil were actually trying to do something they were proud of and perhaps a bit disappointed by the feedback they received from fans and critics alike.

I'm sure that when Neil decides to put the band back together and put out another great pop album, the fans he lost with his noodling will jump right back in.

Steve Shealy posted:
Sugar Mouse posted:
IainK posted:

I think this is probably the album where I stop caring about Finn releases. Neil (and co) are of course free to persue which ever direction they which to take, but equally it's time to accept that, after what, 4 albums under various guises (solo/PJC & L+N) that I've at best tolerated and at worst think are just diabolical, it is time to check out and stop throwing money after albums I just get no enjoyment out of whatsoever.

Wow.  So sorry to hear that you find no enjoyment from Neil's recent work. I'm a huge fan of the Split Enz/Crowded House stuff and I also really enjoy Out of Silence and Lightsleeper. Dizzy Heights and Intriguer were solid to me but not great. I'm just happy that Neil continues to create.

 Lightsleeper and Out of Silence are STILL so far above most of what is put out by other artists today. 

Can’t really agree...subpar Neil Finn is still pretty good, yes, but there is a TON of great new music out there these days. I could list many but some recent new albums I’ve really enjoyed include The Vaccines, Leon Bridges, Neko Case, Janelle Monae...

Paināporo posted:

Totally legitimate to go separate ways from an artist you once loved. It's happened to me with other artists and I was actually really concerned about Lightsleeper. I thought Liam's last album was terrible and I was very concerned about what impact his work would have on Neil's.

To my pleasant surprise, Neil seems to have reeled in Liam's excesses and helped him produce some terrific straight forward pop songs (more akin to I'll Be Lightning). Neil continues to indulge his experimental side as he did with Pajama Club and Dizzy Heights, but I think he does so with much more warmth and joy on Lightsleeper. It just all sounds so natural and not forced at all - which I love.

It doesn't feel like Neil has tried to write a true pop song since Intriguer and I think that experience may have soured him on the whole process of creating pop music. I still think he will come back to it in time, but people were really hard on Intriguer and I think the band and Neil were actually trying to do something they were proud of and perhaps a bit disappointed by the feedback they received from fans and critics alike.

I'm sure that when Neil decides to put the band back together and put out another great pop album, the fans he lost with his noodling will jump right back in.

I think Intriguer would have benefited from a more organic production approach. The songs on that albums are strong but there was a bit too much production gloss for my taste.

Dizzy Heights had some amazing highs but also some significant lows.  That album would have benefited form a bit more work on the lyrics that were far more literal and clumsy when compared to most of Neil's past work. I also think that Dave Fridmann's production was on Dizzy Heights obscrued the melodic beauty of many of those songs.  

Add Reply

Likes (1)
Annie99999
    All times London, UK.

    ©1998-Eternity, Frenz.com. All post content is the copyrighted work of the person who wrote it. Please don't copy, reproduce, or publish anything you see written here without the author's permission.
×
×
×
×
×