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

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