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Cross posting these from my other threads because I did'nt think at the time to make a 'group' thread for such things. Doh'

http://www.hour.ca/music/music.aspx?iIDArticle=20087


July 8th, 2010
Crowded House
Write a comment on this article !


Accidental worldliness
Martin Siberok



Crowded House: A promise to play the faves
photo: Cybele Malinowski


The members of Crowded House didn't plan to live in different wings of the world, it just worked out that way

These days Crowded House is truly a multinational band. Trying to get the band together for an impromptu meeting is nigh on impossible since the members are spread out around the world: Neil Finn lives in New Zealand, bassist Nick Seymour in Dublin, multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart in Los Angeles and drummer Matt Sherrod in Nashville.
"We need advance notice about having a meeting or a band rehearsal," laughs Seymour over the phone from Ireland. "It's funny because when Neil broke up the band in 1996 it was because he'd moved back to New Zealand and Paul [Hester] and I stayed in Melbourne. He said it didn't feel like a band because we weren't living in the same city. Ironic, isn't it?"

Crowded House have just released Intriguer, their sixth studio album since the band formed in 1985 and their second since reforming in 2006, following the suicide of Hester. Unlike their 2007 release, Time on Earth, which had the band recording Finn's solo material, Intriguer is an actual band album that came together during the recording sessions.

"It's the best we've made to date," states Seymour emphatically. "You always listen to an album and think it could be better than what it is. And I'm like that with every Crowded House record, but this one really holds its own."

When it comes to their recent concerts, Seymour says Crowded House usually perform six songs off
the new album. "But trying to fit as much of the old catalogue into a two-hour show is tricky. We do the 'have-to-play' songs like Don't Dream It's Over, Fall at Your Feet and Four Seasons in One Day. They are the good sing-along songs that the people expect, so it would be ridiculous if we didn't do them."

Crowded House
w/ Lawrence Arabia
At Métropolis (59 Ste-Catherine E.), July 13



http://www.torontosun.com/ente.../07/09/14661016.html

The Crowded House Q&A
By DARRYL STERDAN, QMI Agency

Last Updated: July 9, 2010 1:46pm


There's room to jam in Neil Finn's Crowded House these days.

The New Zealand singer-guitarist says his band's sixth studio disc Intriguer -- in stores Tuesday -- is a more collaborative effort, thanks to the reinvigorated group's new interactive approach.

"The band is far more ingrained in these songs," the 52 year old explains from New York City. "As we were writing, we were out on tour roadtesting these songs and changing them as we went. So the character of the band was a part of the process from beginning to end. Last time, it was more of a collection of songs that were recorded."

Of course, that last album -- 2007's Time on Earth -- wasn't meant to be a Crowded House album at first. After drummer Paul Hester's 2005 suicide nearly a decade after the band's breakup, Finn asked bassist Nick Seymour to play on his third solo album, then decided to go all the way by recalling keyboardist Mark Hart and recruiting drummer Matt Sherrod for Crowded House V2.0.

En route to a seven-date Canadian tour that begins Monday in Toronto, Finn discussed jamming with a control freak, the joys of a new 'stache and his dreams of a Partridge Family life.

Let's start with the important stuff: I understand you've grown a moustache.

I have. I never had one before. I'm enjoying it. When I get in front of a mirror and sculpt it, it's quite fun. It's evolved now from something that was a painful thing on the top of my lip to a slightly more bushy, curved thing. So yeah, it's good. Though there have been mixed feelings among the fan base. A lot of people don't like it. But the perverse side of me quite likes that as well.

Your fans criticize your moustache?

They do. They take great delight in it. It used to be my shoes for a while. They didn't think I had very good shoes. I think it's a measure of their interest. But it is a little claustrophobic. If you were to think about it too much, you could become self-conscious. But I don't.

Do you think of Intriguer as the sixth Crowded House album or the second of the new band?

I think of it as our sixth. There are obviously two incarnations and two eras of Crowded House. Some people may be attached forever to the first era and not to this era. But I believe we've got a great many people who see it as a continuum. Certainly a community of people who used to come see us back in the day are coming again and enjoying songs from both eras.

This album has everything from power-pop to guitar-rock on it. It sounds like you were determined not to repeat yourself.

That's definitely our aim and ambition for every record, but particularly this one. We wanted to get it right, so we took a bit of time to work out how we should present ourselves, having decided to be a band again. Obviously, we went out the first time in this new incarnation and had a lot of people coming along out of nostalgia. We wanted to make sure that whatever happened for us, people were seeing a band in development, a band that's progressing.

One song that leaps out from the CD in that regard is Isolation. It has two very different parts and female vocals -- it's unlike anything you've done.

That song came out of jamming with the band. It's actually a composite of two parts that don't naturally go together in a way, but seemed to be an exciting development when we discovered it in rehearsal. It's the kind of thing you get a thrill from. It's a good mix.

Do you see that collaborative approach as the shape of things to come in your songwriting, or are you too much of a control freak?

Yes and yes. We're becoming really good at jamming -- every band needs to have that card in their hand. And I would love to think that could become a common way for songs to emerge. But it would still come down to me being a control freak after they had emerged. I would have to direct the melodies and lyrics. But the guys understand I'm a mad b-----d. I get frustrated by certain things, and they just have to step aside and let me be. But that's just the way it is. It's not easy to make great music. And I don't say we make great music all the time. But whatever hit rate we have is part inspiration, along with a lot of determination and struggle.

Isolation, travel and detachment seem to come up a lot on the lyrics. Is that how you feel?

There is a sense of detachment in a few of the songs -- that feeling of not being grounded. Some of that comes from the ennui travelling can bring. We do more travelling than your average band because we come from so far away. The long-haul flight, being on the other side of the world, the seasons being upside down, they all dominate our lives. But I also think in the world today, there's a general feeling of detachment from reality because there are so many distractions and technology and luxury and comforts. That interests me -- wanting connection with real things.

Your wife Sharon and son Liam are both on this disc. And of course, you've worked with your brother Tim. You're all going to end up in one big Partridge Family band some day, aren't you?

I hope so. That would be fantastic. I would love it. But that's quite a lot to organize. And selling our son on the idea of touring with Mom and Dad might be tough.
I don't usually get into the 'how Neil looks' end of things, but he's looking quite young and good these days - same with Mark and Nick. In the photo from the Montreal article, Neil basically looks the exact same as the Together Alone photos, just with a little gray in his hair (and that thing on his lip). They all look basically the same as 17 years ago.

That's good because back when Neil played 'Human Kindness' on Conan O'Brien, I thought he was looking quite old, tired and haggard.
Here's another one.

Crowded House back to second home, Toronto

When Crowded House kicks off its 32-date North American tour Monday night at Massey Hall, it'll be rekindling its 25-year love affair with Toronto.

Mind you, it's a relationship that was interrupted for an 11-year spell when, after a successful run of four strong albums and such mellifluent hit melodies as “Don't Dream (It's Over),” “Better Be Home Soon” and “Something So Strong,” fearless leader Neil Finn pulled the plug on the New Zealand/Australia-based hybrid to pursue numerous projects ranging from The Finn Brothers (with elder sibling Tim, co-founder of Split Enz) to the star charity collective 7 Worlds Collide to solo ventures.

But Toronto has served as the backdrop for some important moments in the band's history: back in 1986 when they were the trio of Finn (vocals, guitar, songsmith), Nick Seymour (bass, vocal) and Paul Hester (drums, vocal), got stranded in the city as openers for a cancelled Bruce Hornsby Canadian tour and hosted an impromptu Saturday afternoon Q&A/jam on MuchMusic that helped break them in this country, to closing out the first chapter of their careers as a quartet (with Mark Hart on keyboards) with an intimate final North American performance at the Horseshoe Tavern in 1996.

“We've probably spent more time in Toronto than any other city and met some really good people there,” Finn, 52, said Thursday from New York.

“And we did a lot of stuff for MuchMusic back in those days. Once they sent us a reel of everything we'd done on MuchMusic and we were kind of overwhelmed about how much there was. We had been on there so much, we thought, ‘What sluts we are!' ” he laughs.

“I do remember Paul and Nick gaffer-taping (MuchMusic host) Erica Ehm to her chair as we were doing an interview once — but it was a pretty good and loose atmosphere. Those early days of MuchMusic had a very open policy and they were very accommodating for us. And we were very obviously a band that took delight in serving up some spontaneous humour and mischief and stuff, so maybe we were well suited at the time.”

The interim between Crowded House's demise and resurrection did suffer one tragedy: the 2005 suicide of Paul Hester, whose madcap improvisational humour was often a crowd pleaser.

While Finn admits Hester's death “sent me for a spin,” he says his late friend wasn't a factor in the decision to eventually reunite the band.

“We talked about doing a few shows, but only very loosely,” Finn explains. “It was spending time with Nick, enjoying his company, that the idea of being in a band suddenly seemed appealing again.

“You know, sharing it with your mates is half of what a band's about, really.”

The other half, of course, is playing music — particularly new stuff — and the team of Finn, Seymour, Hart and drummer Matt Sherrod return with Intriguer, a fine 10-song effort that capitalizes on Finn's gift for seamless pop craftsmanship and candid observation.

The new album — in stores and available online on Tuesday — is their first since 2007's reunion album Time On Earth, and Finn says the motivation for recording the Jim Scott-produced collection remains constant.

“We just wanted to make the best record we could — hopefully the best record we've ever made — and that's always the aim,” he admits. “The result of a lot of touring and becoming a band again on the last record I think put us in a really good place. We worked hard to make the record cohesive and to reflect the character of the band as much as we could, but we're also stretching to find new angles on what we do.

“For instance, the song ‘Either Side of the World' has a pretty snazzy samba beat which we had never tried previously. So it's good to know there's a few tricks up the old sleeve.
quote:
While Finn admits Hester's death “sent me for a spin,” he says his late friend wasn't a factor in the decision to eventually reunite the band.


Funny that, because he's said the opposite in other interviews. One that stands out is when he said something to the effect of not being able to bear the thought of Paul's death being the end of the Crowded House story. Maybe the interviewer misunderstood or exaggerated (maybe Neil said it wasn't "the" reason, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a factor).

Then, again, it wouldn't be the first time Neil contradicted himself in separate interviews. He is probably getting a little tired of being asked this question. Who can blame him?

I wonder if they'll be on either MuchMusic or MuchMoreMusic tomorrow. Too bad I have neither (I only have peasantview). Those who can should watch for it.
quote:
I don't usually get into the 'how Neil looks' end of things, but he's looking quite young and good these days


Around the time of Paul's death, I felt he'd aged a lot in a short time. But since reforming Crowded House, I think he looks healthy, happy and comparatively youthful. I've probably said this before, but this is partly why I knew reforming the band was the right thing and for the right reasons.
Review from the Chicago Sun Times

http://blogs.suntimes.com/musi...house_intriguer.html

Crowded House, 'Intriguer'
By Thomas Conner
on July 11, 2010 8:00 AM

2 stars

Twentieth-century Crowded House is difficult to assail -- all those perfect melodies and would-be McCartney tunes. It was dreamy and then -- a decade before the suicide of drummer Paul Hester -- it was over. The re-formed, 21st-century Crowded House, however, has not been as easy to embrace. The melodies are more complex. The songs are still tuneful but unusually dense, not as sticky. Frequently, it pained me to say after listening to "Time on Earth," they've just been dull.
"Intriguer" is intriguing, but in remarkably -- perhaps troublesome -- ways.

The fuzzy bass, the clever use of a vocoder effect underneath Neil Finn's still-creamy voice on the opening "Saturday Sun" -- these are nice touches that make the House look more modern than it has in years. The rest of the album is surprisingly light, if not lightweight. The songs float by on moderate tempos at most, on arrangements that seem carefully constructed to sneak their inventiveness by you. Then sometimes they erupt suddenly -- in wailing guitar and shrieking at the end of the placid "Isolation," or the whispery Beach Boys harmonies on the jet-lagged "Either Side of the World" that collapse into a banging, Oasis refrain. The lyrics are almost as challenging, odes of restlessness and emotional conflict; "Amsterdam" begins as a story of an exhausting day of tourism and somehow morphs into a worrisome rumination on "the darkest days of a free man."

It's as if nothing in Finn's life has quite been the same -- quite so simple -- since he wrote about how fleeting it is in his 2001 song "Anytime" ("There's nothing safe about this life / I could go at anytime"). There's more to life than melody, it seems, and "Intriguer" sounds weary of the hunt but not ready to give it up.
From the Toronto Globe and Mail

Intriguer

Reviewed by JD Considine

http://www.theglobeandmail.com...iews/article1637450/

Crowded House

Universal

* *
Rock careers follow a fairly predictable arc: beginning loud and aggressive, then turning arty and adventurous, and ending up quiet and melodious. Neil Finn got the order completely wrong, starting off arty with Split Enz, going for pretty in the first incarnation of Crowded House, then rocking out in the current version. Not that Crowded House have turned their backs on the Beatlesque beauty of their back catalogue. Instead, the dreamy plaintiveness of such songs as Archer’s Arrows and Twice If You’re Lucky is augmented by the raucous, semi-psychedelic charm of Isolation and Saturday Sun. But a distressing percentage of tunes avoid either extreme, leaving no impression at all.
From The Phoenix New Times

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c..._house_intriguer.php

Artist: Crowded House
Title: Intriguer
Release date: July 13
Label: Fantasy

Review by Jay Bennett


Thanks to the many people who read and commented on my post last week of my must-hear songs from the first half of 2010. Seems I touched a few nerves with that list -- a common theme of those who were critical of my choices was that they were all "hipster" music and that "they all sounded the same."


Not sure how Devo and Sharon Jones sound the same or how Beach House and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club share any similarities or how Dum Dum Girls' bouncy pop sounds anything like Dead Weather's bound-for-hell blues, but I guess these commenters have their reasons for saying such things -- they just refused to do so. Instead, most simply resort to blanket statements, vitriol, and name-calling, all under the cloak of anonymity, of course.

What these people need is more Crowded House in their lives.

Though I wouldn't call myself a fan of the Australian band, every time I hear one of their songs, I wonder why I'm not. In some ways, they're about as good as a pop band can get -- the ageless, versatile voice of Neil Finn; classic pop sensibilities that would've played well in any of the past four decades and will probably play well in any of the next four decades; top-notch musicianship; and an overall essence that just screams intelligence.

Intriguer, Crowded House's second studio record since the suicide of founding drummer Paul Hester, was produced by the guy who produced the most recent Wilco record, and fans of that band will likely find Intriguer's organic melodicism-meets-melancholy appealing (and "Even If" sounds more than a little like something Wilco would do). Original guitarist Nick Seymour is no Nels Cline, but he pulls out some inventive leads throughout Intriguer.

There's nothing groundbreaking or trendy about the songs on Intriguer -- and nothing that's destined to be a classic like "Don't Dream It's Over" -- but for expertly written and performed guitar pop by old dudes from Down Under, there's probably nothing better out there right now.

Best song: Soaring opening track "Saturday Sun" and downer "Isolation."
Rotation: Medium-high
Deja Vu: Late-era Beatles meets late-era Wilco
I'd rather listen to: The re-issued Fables of the Reconstruction, out tomorrow.
Grade: B
From the Lexington Herald

Critic's pick: Crowded House, 'Intriguer'

By Walter Tunis Contributing Music Writer

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/0...house-intriguer.html

"When you're in luck, the world moves with you," muses Neil Finn during Either Side of the World, one of the many pop affirmations that make up Crowded House's sublime new album, Intriguer.

The song, in a span of 41/2 minutes, encapsulates everything that continues to make the veteran New Zealand band one of the most absorbing and mature pop forces on the planet. Lyrically, it pits isolations inevitably brought on by a consumed (and largely spent) world against the glories of simple human compassion. Musically, such conflict unfolds in subtle, orchestrated colors — light-as-air keyboards, a summery strum of guitar, even the simple, revivalesque beat of a tambourine. And, vocally, it beams with Finn's singing pouring over the music like late-summer sunshine.

OK, maybe that's a bit much. But you get the picture. In simpler terms, Intriguer is a continuation of the efficient pop devices that continue to work in Crowded House's favor.

The band has switched out producers this time (Jim Scott of Wilco fame replaces Ethan Johns, who produced 2007's equally regal comeback album, Time on Earth). There is also a continued reliance on the fine Finn clan that culminates with Isolation, a moody, psychedelic-inclined reverie cooled by the duet vocals of Finn's wife, Sharon, and a rampaging guitar coda from son Liam, who is already an established indie pop presence outside of the House.

Intriguer is something of a more promising album than its predecessor, though. Time on Earth, while one of the band's loveliest recordings, generously echoed the loss of founding drummer Paul Hester. Intriguer is the sound of a more emancipated House, a band that has mourned and moved on.

Especially striking in this instance is Twice If You're Lucky and Elephants. The former follows the same hopeful pattern as Either Side of the World, battling a life view in which "reality's shut you down" only to open into shimmering pop-filled promise. The album-closing Elephants is more dismissive and confident in temperament ("let's admit the world don't turn around us") as its waltzlike piano melody is encircled by atmospherics provided by the lap steel guitar of Mark Hart — the House's secret weapon for more than two decades — and the pedal steel guitar of guest Greg Leisz.

Overt rock 'n' roll isn't in great supply on Intriguer. The album-opening single Saturday Sun comes the closest to letting loose founding House bassist Nick Seymour and drummer Matt Sherrod. But even then, the sound never becomes intrusive. As it was when the debut hit Don't Dream It's Over commanded airwaves nearly a quarter-century ago, the music of Crowded House moves best in wide-open pop circles where it can circumnavigate the clouds and soak in all the sunshine it can.
Review from the Boston Herald by Jed Gottlieb

B-

http://www.bostonherald.com/en...100712crowded_house/

It’s a new Crowded House record. Scratch that, it’s a new Crowded House record without “Something So Strong” or anything that sublime.

With his hits deep in the past, head of the House Neil Finn is just trying to make some nice, introspective modern rock. And he does that on the Aussie band’s sixth disc. There’s a surprising Neil-Young-like guitar freak-out on “Isolation” and lots of the expected pretty melodies (“Falling Dove,” “Twice if You’re Lucky”). Nice, but a bit boring. Download: “Isolation.” (Appearing Saturday at House of Blues.)
From Canada.com site

http://www.canada.com/Reviews+...e/3267270/story.html


CROWDED HOUSE

Intriguer

(Universal)

Rating: three stars

The second album from these re-formed pop masters is exactly what you've come to expect. Pristine and brilliantly executed, the shimmering harmonies and somewhat Beatles-esque arrangements that have been Neil Finn's part and parcel since he penned hits for Split Endz in his teens are here in force. Also too, is the sense of melancholy and slightly depressed lyrical content that made Don't Dream It's Over so enduring. Highlights include Either Side of the World, Saturday Sun and shuffling Twice If You're Lucky.

- Stuart Derdeyn
Here's a review from the Onion A.V. Club: http://www.avclub.com/articles...use-intriguer,43019/

Intriguer (Rating: B)

by Jason Heller July 13, 2010

Crowded House would have the world believe that Intriguer—its sixth full-length, and the second since it reunited in 2006—is a grand reinvigoration of the veteran band’s steady, polished songcraft. Overall, that’s pretty much true. The latest iteration of the New Zealand pop institution sees leader Neil Finn running Intriguer’s 10 tracks through a barrage of various treatments and textures, from the spectral, slide-guitar twang of “Twice If You’re Lucky” to the synthetic psychedelics of the album’s soaring first single, “Saturday Sun.” Finn’s songs are as concise, tuneful, and classic as ever, though the sweet wistfulness of past work—including 2007’s Time On Earth, made after the suicide of founding member Paul Hester—is mostly absent. That Crowded House ache does surface breathtakingly on the gorgeous “Isolation” and “Even If,” a stark, brittle song punctuated by sharp piano plunks, and haunted by peripheral cello. But when Finn and company attempt to get their rock on, as they do on the vaguely Oasis-ish “Inside Out,” it dampens the disc’s dynamic rather than enhances it. As promised, Intriguer is indeed Crowded House with a fresh layer of wallpaper. The thing is, the group has always been timeless enough not to need it.
http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Arti.../07/13/14694826.html


Massey Hall, Toronto - July 12, 2010

By JANE STEVENSON, QMI Agency








***1/2 (3.5 out of five )

---

Crowded House launched its latest North American tour at Massey Hall on Monday night with an intriguing show.

How appropriate given their latest album is called Intriguer, and arrived in stores Tuesday.

“We’re not usually this prompt,” joked the sweet-voiced and quick-witted New Zealander Neil Finn, the group’s singer-guitarist and chief songwriter, of the band’s arrival in town just a day before their new album was due for release.

Finn, 52, was joined on the strangely decked out stage - illuminated garden ornaments figured prominently - by the only other orginal band member, bassist Nick Seymour, keyboardist/guitarist Mark Hart, whose been with the band since 1989 and drummer Mark Sherrod, who joined for the making of 2007’s Time On Earth, the group's first studio recording in 14 years following the 2005 suicide of orginal drummer Paul Hester.

The quirky stage hinted at the hi-jinks to come, mainly oneliners from Finn and Seymour, who were in particularly good form about the G-20 - “I love an exclusion zone,” deadpanned Seymour,” and The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team.

“Wanker,” said Finn when someone in the crowd suggested The All Blacks weren’t very good.

Finn and Seymour also fell onto their knees in front of Hart during a particularly good guitar solo from him.

Mainly, though the group offered up Crowded House chesnuts and delved deep into Intriguer over the course of two hours and 10 minutes.

Finn, sporting a moustache and decked out in a white blazer that made him look more like head waiter than a musician, excelled at making the most of his established rapour with the audience given Crowded House’s 25-year history with Toronto. (Among notable gigs, they played their final North American show in 1996 at the Horseshoe.)

It was a cozy, comfortable and familiar without being boring and Finn, alternately between acoustic and electric guitar and piano, frequently coaxed the audience into singalongs on such Crowded House classic as Fall At Your Feet, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Weather With You, and the show-ending Better Be Home Soon.

Initially, only a group of about ten people had gathered at the front of the stage but by half-way through the concert, that number had grown to about 50, and by the end of the night, the aisles were packed too.

Of the new songs, Saturday Sun, Amsterdam, Twice If Your’re Lucky, Archer’s Arrows, Falling Dove, and Elephants excelled in a live setting as Finn favoured jammy, experimental interpretations while such Crowded House classics as Not The Girl You Think You Are, Hole In The River, Knocked Out, When You Come, Distant Sun, Four Seasons In One Day, and the Split Enz hit, I Got You, also proved to be major crowd pleasers.

Before they finally made their exit, under threat of a fine for breaking the curfew at the venue, Finn, Seymour, Hart and Sherrod, ran along the front of the stage and gleefully hi-fived audience members.

The connection was complete.
Positive review from PopDose.

Ken Shane

There aren’t many musical events more welcome than a new album from Crowded House. That’s largely because you know what you’re going to get, and I mean that in the best possible way: a collection of finely crafted songs, replete with lovely melodies, wistful, intelligent lyrics, and appealing harmonies. I’m happy to report that Intriguer (Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group) is no exception.

This is the second album from the band (the first being 2007′s excellent Time on Earth) since the untimely demise of founding drummer Paul Hester, and their return from a layoff of ten years. It’s one of the finest efforts of their career. Led by the gifted Neil Finn, and produced by Jim Scott (best known for his outstanding work with Wilco), the Crowdies bring us ten exceptional new songs (there are a couple of bonus tracks floating around too, but I don’t have them), mostly written by Finn (the sixth track, “Isolation,” was written by the band). In addition to Finn, the band, now a quartet, features original bassist Nick Seymour, and keyboard player Mark Hart and drummer Matt Sherrod, who came aboard for Crowded House version 2.0.

Finn has made this one something of a family affair, with his wife Sharon helping out with the vocals on the ethereal “Isolation,” and son Liam playing guitar on “Falling Dove,” and adding the perfect touch of psychedelia to the coda of “Isolation.” Other guests include violinist Lisa Germano, multi-purpose man Don McGlashan, who brings acoustic guitar, percussion, and horns, and the indispensable Jon Brion, who adds sampled voices and mashed up guitar to the proceedings.

It’s tough to pick out one or two particular songs from a collection that is this consistent, but I’m awfully fond of “Twice If You’re Lucky,” which somehow feels like the perfect representation of what makes Neil Finn a great songwriter, and Crowded House a great band. On the other hand, the samba groove of “Either Side of the World” is something of a departure for the band, but a welcome one indeed.

By now, if you’re a fan of Neil Finn, or Crowded House, you don’t need me to tell you that Intriguer is essential. If you’re not yet a fan — and by that I mean someone who has never heard the band, because once you hear them you’re a fan — it’s an excellent starting point. In any event, there’s no way you can go wrong. Grab this one today and become a part of the cult of the biggest little band in the world.

Read more: CD Review: Crowded House, "Intriguer" | Popdose http://popdose.com/cd-review-c...iguer/#ixzz0tZCqblNJ
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
It is amazing how many articles I've seen that have called it 'Knocked Out' Roll Eyes


http://www.kentucky.com/2010/0...sic-reviews-and.html

Crowded House - "Intriguer" (Mercury) (rating 7 out of 10)

Today's young rock stars can only hope their careers last as long and turn out as idyllic as Neil Finn's has. For more than 30 years, Finn has been turning out charming, often brilliant thinking-person's pop. His two bands, Split Enz and Crowded House, have been successful enough to keep money in the bank, but not huge enough to invite destructive excess. He's also released solo albums and collaborated with his brother Tim on a pair. He's quietly become something of an elder statesman, and everyone from Cheryl Crow to Eddie Vedder, from Johnny Marr to Radiohead, has lined up to pay tribute and collaborate.

Maybe Finn's stability and contentment has informed the sound of "Intriguer," a mature, thoughtful, and mostly mellow album. Most likely, though, it's that Finn is no longer satisfied with writing sharp, easily-accessible pop songs. Not that he can't do it, as a track like "She Called Up" from "Time on Earth" made clear. He is simply more interested in taking that pop underpinning to more sophisticated, less familiar places. Usually for an artist in their 50s, that's code for labored, middle-of-the-road dross that's not much fun to listen to. Indeed, you could be forgiven for forming that type of first impression of "Intriguer." The lead single, "Saturday Sun," doesn't sound much like a single at all, a tense, opaque mass of guitars, keyboards, and vocoder through which no chorus makes its way. It's followed by a string of songs that are slow and well-measured. Most of the verses are more catchy than the choruses.

It takes about five listens for "Intriguer" to sink in. That's an overused phrase to be sure, but it's actually true in this case. Crowded House are such adept craftsmen, they can get away with being subtle, hiding a hook or a great little guitar part where you wouldn't expect it. "Intriguer" is the sound of a band that is very comfortable with itself, and not trying to be anything it's not. A couple tracks, such as "Amsterdam," have a bit "too" much of that laid-back, comfy slippers feel. But even "Amsterdam" has the most rippin' guitar solo ever on a Crowded House record. It hits you out of nowhere, again and again. At ten songs and 40 minutes, "Intriguer" gives you time to delve into it. It's a great album in the classic mold, one that rewards you. - John Bergstrom
The above kentucky.com review is actually a reduction of this PopMatters review..here's the entire thing:

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/r...ded-house-intriguer/

Today’s young rock stars can only hope their careers last as long and turn out as idyllic as Neil Finn’s has. For more than 30 years, Finn has been turning out charming, often brilliant thinking-person’s pop. His two bands, Split Enz and Crowded House, have been successful enough to keep money in the bank, but not huge enough to invite destructive excess. He’s also released solo albums and collaborated with his brother Tim on a pair. He’s quietly become something of an elder statesman, and everyone from Cheryl Crow to Eddie Vedder, from Johnny Marr to Radiohead, has lined up to pay tribute and collaborate.

Of course, not everything has been milk and honey. Crowded House’s career was not without its share of strife, not least when Tim Finn joined the band for a spell. Drummer Paul Hester quit in 1994, and Neil Finn imploded the band shortly thereafter. Hester committed suicide in 2005, and that was the catalyst for Finn’s reforming Crowded House. He converted an in-progress solo album into 2007’s well-received Time on Earth. Now, Finn, still living in his native New Zealand with his family, has made Intriguer on much surer footing, with a revitalized band and contributions from friends, his wife, and one of his two sons, a successful recording artist in his own right. Rock ’n’ roll stories are supposed to snatch tragedy from the hands of the good life, not the other way around.

Maybe Finn’s stability and contentment has informed the sound of Intriguer, a mature, thoughtful, and mostly mellow album. Most likely, though, it’s that Finn is no longer satisfied with writing sharp, easily-accessible pop songs. Not that he can’t do it, as a track like “She Called Up” from Time on Earth made clear. He is simply more interested in taking that pop underpinning to more sophisticated, less familiar places. Usually for an artist in their 50s, that’s code for labored, middle-of-the-road dross that’s not much fun to listen to. Indeed, you could be forgiven for forming that type of first impression of Intriguer. The lead single, “Saturday Sun”, doesn’t sound much like a single at all, a tense, opaque mass of guitars, keyboards, and vocoder through which no chorus makes its way. It’s followed by a string of songs that are slow and well-measured. Most of the verses are more catchy than the choruses.

It takes about five listens for Intriguer to sink in. That’s an overused phrase to be sure, but it’s actually true in this case. Crowded House are such adept craftsmen, they can get away with being subtle, hiding a hook or a great little guitar part where you wouldn’t expect it. Intriguer is the sound of a band who are very comfortable together and with themselves, not trying to be anything they’re not. A couple tracks, such as “Amsterdam”, have a bit too much of that laid-back, comfy slippers feel. But even “Amsterdam” has the most rippin’ guitar solo ever on a Crowded House record. It hits you out of nowhere, again and again.

Crowded House made Intriguer with veteran American producer and engineer Jim Scott. Wilco met Scott when they were all working on Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide project in 2008. Tweedy and company liked Scott so much they decided to stay on and make Wilco (The Album) with him. And sure enough, you can imagine Tweedy singing more than a few of the songs on Intriguer. Scott has clearly helped free up Finn and his band to try on new sounds and let things flow more naturally. Finn is a notorious perfectionist, but Scott helps the multi-faceted arrangements and layers of instruments to breathe in a way a Crowded House record never has before. “Falling Down” goes from a gentle, arpeggio-based acoustic breeze to a pounding, McCartneyesque middle-eight, complete with hollered backing vocals, which runs up against a wall of psychedelic guitar noise before resetting itself. Even better is “Isolation”, a two-fer that gives you shimmering, tremolo, ‘50s-style doo-wop before hitting you with a full-on acid freakout. Even on the mellow numbers that stay mellow, Finn and multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart fill in the corners with sundry sounds and instruments. New drummer Matt Sherrod adds balance and character.

If you’re looking for faster tempos and more immediate tunes, you’ll have to look to Intriguer‘s second half. The gorgeous, piano and lap steel-led “Twice If You’re Lucky” comes closest to the sort of pure pop Finn used to deliver in large quantities. It’s a touching, uplifting reflection on taking stock of love when “you think reality’s shut you down”. Also, it may or may not be a treatise on Crowded House’s second act. “Inside Out” is a straight-up alt.country rocker, complete with fuzzy guitars and lo-fi mix. You can see, then, how what at first may seem like dross turns to revelation and inspiration.

Finn’s voice is a pleasure in itself, and time has been kind to it. A hint of a rasp here and there only adds depth. His lyrics, too, are sharp, with a sophistication that matches the songs’. It takes someone with time-won perspective to observe that “Kids kissing on the floor / They make a work of art”.

At ten songs and 40 minutes, Intriguer gives you time to delve into it. It’s a great album in the classic mold, one that rewards you. Not everyone who loves “Weather With You” or “Pineapple Head” is going to love it. But it leaves no question that Crowded House’s initial disbandment was premature. It is fun to listen to, and though that fun is of the grown-up sort, it makes for one of the year’s best pop albums all the same.
http://sputnikmusic.com/review_37870

Jake C. Taylor

Rating: 4 (excellent)

As much as Paul Hester’s untimely death stimulated Crowded House’s humbling comeback, it would be rather superficial to assume it’s the predominant force Neil Finn and his band have chosen to portray throughout Intriguer; an evidently quaint and more intimate approach to an already quaint and intimate signature sound. Instead, focusing on the subtly distorted lead, “Saturday Sun” -- an effectual version of parallels found during Time on Earth (i.e “She Called Up”) -- House expresses that time has not diminished their charming musical prowess.

Further signifying this is “Archer’s Arrows” employing Finn’s wife, Sharon, as a backing vocalist, trickling piano harmonies and restful guitar melodies from long time member, Mark Hart. But it is after these that the recording yearns for attentiveness in its listener, making Intriguer all the more intriguing. It coaxes, even lures, with the two tantalising engagers, before cloaking the listener in its more mystifying inner through innocent acoustic instrumentation during “Falling Dove” and “Either Side of the World” before tracking towards the ghostly “Isolation”.

In many of these and others, Finn suggests a more careful thought process towards his lyricism. “We’re just paper over cracks” (“Archer’s Arrows”), and “it’s useless to dwell” (“Even If”), bare the subtle weight of a caretaker’s darker uncertainties, while others reinforce a tendency towards a painter’s impressionism as in the evocative walkthrough of “Amsterdam”. In the same manner “Elephant’s” asserts, amongst other more abstract creature metaphors, “let’s admit the whole world don’t turn around us / it’s acting like we don’t exist / [...]sweet dreams, make waves, find bliss”. Buoyed by Matt Sherrod’s rattling snare stroking, and caressed by the marriage of piano and Finn’s distinct voice, “Even If”, is quite close to being one of their best creations that could marry the credits for any feel-good film with further inspiring utterances claiming “imagination knows no bounds”.

At this point, we couldn’t ask for more from Crowded House. However, with an album such as Intriguer that fits in fluently amongst their repertoire, it’s hard to argue against its larger picture prospects. It’s a factor that separates it from 2007’s solid, but tentative effort, which many peddled as a conception of ideas from a soloist’s cupboard. Every song’s gift of matching pretty with picturesque and mysterious with compelling (or vice-versa) is the most attractive element of the album, alongside its evidently tighter form of musicianship. Here, Finn still retains his old job as song-maker, but has three talented keepers at hand who are responsible for much of the album’s cohesion through a well balanced fifty minutes of blissful dreaminess and basking pop-rock.
Crowded House: Intriguer

Posted by Jeff Giles (07/13/2010 @ 11:39 am)
4 out of 5 stars

http://www.esdmusic.com/2010/0...ded-house-intriguer/

Neil Finn titled his first post-Crowded House solo album Try Whistling This, and that may as well have been a manifesto for everything he’s done since. Once a dispenser of instantly memorable hooks, Finn spent his solo years burrowing into an increasingly insular (and ethereally lovely) melodic world, and where albums like One Nil were arguably more meaningful than his earlier work, it often felt like he was engaging in a bit of passive resistance against the pop fame he achieved – and inexplicably lost. Fine, he seemed to be saying. You didn’t buy brilliantly catchy Crowded House records like Woodface and Together Alone? I won’t bother with the mainstream stuff.

Fans who’d been frustrated with Finn’s drift away from stuff they could whistle were doubtless cheered when he unexpectedly decided to reconvene Crowded House in 2007, after a more than ten-year hiatus – but anyone who thought the reunion meant Finn was sitting on another “Don’t Dream It’s Over” must have been crushingly disappointed in their first album back, Time on Earth. For all intents and purposes, it sounded like another Finn solo record – which made sense, given that the sessions started out that way, but the band’s trademark energy was noticeably lacking.

So was Time on Earth just a case of Finn cleaning out the pipes before he got back to business? Yes and no. It’s true that Intriguer sounds like more of a band effort than Time on Earth, but what this album really establishes is how Finn has evolved as a songwriter. He’s always addressed unusual themes – this is a band that recorded a song titled “Pineapple Head” and once fantasized about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s pants falling down in front of the Queen of England — but as the years have worn on, Finn has found the confidence (or maybe just the means) to probe deeper, and with deceptively unrestrained emotion, into the things we worry about in middle age and onward. Family, aging, commitment, the bonds of friendship, the struggle to square one’s dreams with who and where they really are – these are the places Finn’s muse has led him, and as topics for pop songs go, they’re briar patches.
They beg for connections, though, and that’s the crux of the reunited Crowded House – it’s a musical fraternity, and not the kind that wears togas and slips roofies to undergrads. If you can listen past the lack of an obvious hit here (leadoff single “Saturday Sun” is about as straight up as the album gets), you can hear bonds being built; in three-minute increments, you can hear Finn discovering who he is as a husband, a father, a musician, and a friend. (Alternately, you can just let it sort of wash over you; aside from a few forays into spiky dissonance, Intriguer is as gauzily lovely as it is thoroughly mid-tempo.)

Songs like these clearly aren’t for everyone. Finn’s late-period work has a tendency to flit away if you try to get a grip on it, and Intriguer is cut from the same cloth. You need to slow down and let these songs come to you. It might take some effort, but it’s worth the wait. “These are times that come only once in your life,” Finn sings at one point, “Or twice if you’re lucky.” It sounds like an allusion to the band’s history, but he’s speaking for all of us. (Fantasy 2010)
Crowded House, 'Intriguer'

Neil Finn and co. sound loose, confident and inspired on their second reunion album

By Andy Hermann
Metromix

http://boston.metromix.com/entertainment/2064718

The buzz: Following the suicide of their former drummer Paul Hester in 2005, the surviving members of Crowded House reunited for “Time on Earth,” their first studio album since 1993. Although “Earth” featured the work of bassist Nick Seymour and multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart, most of its songs had already been written by frontman Neil Finn for a solo album—so in a way, “Intriguer” is the first full-fledged Crowded House album since the band’s reunion.

The verdict: “Time on Earth” was filled with Finn’s tastefully crafted pop-rock, but there was also a tentative quality to it—it sounded like guys consciously attempting to make a Crowded House record, not yet entirely back in tune with whatever chemistry produced some of the sharpest and more underrated pop-rock of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. “Intriguer” feels more fully baked, and more reminiscent of the band’s masterpiece, the wonderfully weird and moody “Together Alone.” A looser, more confident spirit shines through on album opener “Saturday Sun,” which throws the band’s trademark jangly guitars into sharp relief against a thick, almost sludgy backbeat, and the dazzling “Isolation,” which starts in a tremolo haze before exploding into a raucous psych-rock outro (with Finn’s son Liam adding some extra guitar crunch). As a songwriter, Finn sounds equally reinvigorated, serving up some of his most sharply observed lyrics on the wry “Amsterdam” and bringing his pop A-game on “Twice If You’re Lucky.” Fans who cautiously welcomed “Time on Earth” should enthusiastically embrace this stellar return to form.
http://survivingthegoldenage.c...ded-house-intriguer/

Written by: Adam Morgan

Crowded House: Intriguer

For most people, thinking about Crowded House evokes only one memory: “Don’t Dream It’s Over”. The 1987 song was the Australian band’s biggest hit. The song has been used on numerous TV shows from Miami Vice to Degrassi: The Next Generation. But for fans of the band, they know there is a lot more to Neil Finn and company than one cheesy 80s hit. Intriguer is the band’s second album since reuniting in 2006 and their sixth album overall.

For those interested in Intriguer in hopes to relive some 80s memory will be sadly disappointed. Much like music, Crowded House has evolved over time. There are no massively reverbed ballads on Intriguer, but there are a fair amount of ballads.

I might even go so far as to call Intriguer ballad-heavy. The album certainly does not contain any balls-to-the-wall rock tracks, but that’s not exactly what one would expect from Crowded House. The album’s lead single and opening track “Saturday Sun” is probably the most upbeat song the album offers. The track starts with a drive drum line filled in with some computerized bleeps before the fuzzed out bass kicks in. Trance-like keyboards come-in and set the dream pathos behind Neil Finn’s vocals. The chorus is a little more rock oriented with some buzzsaw slide guitar adding some punch. The track delivers the perfect jolt an album’s opening track should but sadly it is the only time the Crowdies exhibit such enthusiasm.

For the most part the album is happy to be mired in mid-tempo ballads. I grew tired of the mid-tempo ballad by the middle of the album, luckily some unexpected turns like “Inside Out”‘s screeching guitar solo outro kept things a little bit interesting. For me, not a regular listener to Crowded House, I found the album disappointing but for those who love Neil Finn’s ballad stylings, I’m sure there is plenty to like on Intriguer.

Rating: 6.3/10
http://sunonthesand.com/2010/crowded-house-intriguer/

Crowded House – Intriguer
July 13th, 2010

Score: 6.5

After a decade apart and the loss of founding member Paul Hester (drums) to suicide, Crowded House returned in 2007 with Time On Earth, an uneven collection of songs that was compiled from Neil Finn’s solo work. On Intriguer, the songs are a collaborative effort by the entire band and the music feels closer to the earlier Crowded House albums. It is a consistent album, well written, and musically diverse. Upon first listen, Crowded House fans longing for a return to 1991’s masterful Woodface might be tentative but each passing listen reveals a little more depth and moves Intriguer closer to, but not into the same breath, as the band’s best work.
The touch of producer Jim Scott (Wilco, Tom Petty) is felt immediately on lead single ‘Saturday Sun’. The fuzzy bass, aggressive drums, and guitar effects give us an idea of what Wilco would sound like if Finn stepped in for Jeff Tweedy. Followed by ‘Acher’s Arrows’ and ‘Amsterdam’, the music settles into more familiar Crowded House territory where harmonies and melody are still produced in abundance. Sadly, neither track demands attention and that’s the underlying problem throughout the album — a handful of songs are a little too forgettable. None are worth skipping outright but some are so harmless that they float away without making an impression.

Intriguer does boast a slew of strong entries as well. Just a hint of samba gives ‘Either Side Of The World’ a lightness of movement that reveals a band still interested in exploring new sonic territory. On the standout track ‘Isolation’, the sonic experimentation melds with the band’s knack for melody and moves from gentle doo-wop to an explosion of guitars and noise that Radiohead could appreciate. Not ready to let us forget that perfectly crafted pop songs are what Crowded House’s does best, ‘Twice If You’re Lucky’ provides the ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ moment that more casual fans will fall in love with. However, it’s the overlooked moments that reveal themselves on repeated listens that make the album rewarding. ‘Inside Out’ might get lost in the shuffle at first but uplifting harmonies and a simple guitar hook are all you need to craft a great song — just ask The Beatles. The tone of the writing moves from gentle optimism to unsettled melancholy and the shadow of Hester’s absence hides in the corners of ‘Elephants’ and ‘Falling Dove’. At the end of the day, optimism offers the best chance at love and “we live to fight another day”.
Crowded House does just that here and intrigues us with a few reminders of what they do best and the occasional glimpse of the new sonic landscape that will frame future albums.

On ‘Even If’, Finn sings, “Disappointment I must bear/underneath my grin” and that’s where Intriguer ultimately lands. While it might not find itself on every blogger’s Best of 2010 list, it’s not lacking in wonderful moments and gives new relevance to Crowded House 25 years after they first arrived on the scene.

Jason Lent
From The Huffington Post - review by Shawn Amos

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...-for-j_b_644937.html

PLAY: Crowded House, "Intriguer"

After the 2005 death of original drummer Paul Hester, Neil Finn turned a solo album into a pseudo-Crowded House reunion with 2007's "Time on Earth." "Intriguer," by comparison, is a full-fledged Crowded House album. Produced by longtime Wilco collaborator Jim Scott, it's full of the pitch-perfect melancholy pop songs that we haven't heard since... well, the last Crowded House album. The band may never again hit the chart heights of their "Don't Dream It's Over" days, but it's fun to see keep them reaching. Few write and play such instantly hummable tunes. But what's the deal with Neil Finn's creepy mustache?
Tuesday Mornining 3am Blog – by Andre Salles

http://www.tm3am.com/

Nothing's As Good As It Used to Be

Neil Finn and Trent Reznor Disappoint

7/14/10

When I was younger, I used to run out of gas all the time.
I had just learned to drive, and my mother had given me my first car, a 1984 Toyota Corolla. It was a stick shift, and the gas gauge was broken. The only way to tell when to refuel was to count the miles on the trip odometer. Every 300 miles or so, I’d need a fresh tank.

Only I didn’t quite believe the odometer, so I’d push my luck. I’d be driving along, watching the numbers flip over – 310, 315 – certain that I’d be able to squeeze a few more miles out of the old girl. So when the car started convulsing and making choking noises, and I’d scan around furtively, searching my internal map of the area for a gas station, I was always surprised. I remember the car sputtering to a stop on the side of the road at least four times during my time with it, and each time, I just couldn’t believe it.

The lesson I learned was, it’s important to know when you’re out of gas, and you need to stop and refuel. You may not think you’re running on empty, but the evidence doesn’t lie.

That’s a lesson Neil Finn could stand to learn. I consider Finn one of the greatest songwriters alive right now, but listening to his recent output, you’d never know it. You have no idea how much I hate writing this next sentence: Finn’s last great song was “Turn and Run,” all the way back in 2001. Before that, he was unbeatable. He had a string of excellent tunes with Split Enz before taking the ball and running with it in Crowded House. Very few pop albums I’ve ever heard can touch those four original Crowded House records, released between 1986 and 1993.
Then came the great first Finn Brothers album, written with his brother Tim, and Neil’s two sterling solo records, Try Whistling This and One Nil. That’s just a great run for any songwriter, and One Nil put a wonderful capper on it – it contains some of my favorite Neil Finn songs, “Turn and Run” included, but also “Driving Me Mad,” “Human Kindness” and “Anytime.” It’s just a wonderful little record.

And then? I have no clue what happened. All I know is, I can barely even get through the Crowded House reunion album, 2007’s Time on Earth. Finn’s prodigious gift for melody seemed to have deserted him entirely, and he turned in an overlong slog, full of dirges and sad experiments. I was hoping it was a one-time failure, a rare dry spell, and Finn would be back to business before long. But now here’s Intriguer, the new Crowded House album, and it leaves me with only one conclusion: Neil Finn is out of gas.

Now, let’s be fair up front. Intriguer isn’t nearly as bad as Time on Earth. For one thing, I’ve listened to the entire album three times, without feeling the intense urge to shut it off, eject the disc and throw it at something hard. But none of these 10 songs come close to the standard Neil Finn has set for himself. It’s a lazy, hazy kind of record, one that trades in mid-tempos and has virtually no hooks. If you’re not paying attention, it will just kind of drift by. Finn songs simply don’t do that – they grab you, make you stop what you’re doing to listen with everything you have.
Not these, though. Intriguer’s first third is its strongest, and for a while, you might actually think you’re hearing a creative rebirth. “Saturday Sun” is the closest Finn comes to writing a great tune here. It’s got a marvelous propulsive bass-and-drums opener (as a side note, it’s always good to hear Nick Seymour play again), and a chorus that, while not dazzling, is certainly one you’ll remember. It’s also the closest this album comes to rocking out. From here, it’s mainly acoustic guitars and gauzy moods.

“Archer’s Arrows” is similarly nice, with Finn reaching for that falsetto in the chorus. And “Amsterdam” has a sweet minor-key melody in the verses, and some very cool chords, even if it never quite stumbles on a hook. And that’s kind of it. All the other songs are forgettable at best, boring at worst. The only thing worth hearing in “Either Side of the World” is Mickey Hart’s ascending piano line. “Falling Dove” goes for “Blackbird” in the verses, and “Lady Madonna” in the bridge, but falls far short of both. It’s not a terrible piece of music, just a blah one, although it’s worlds better than the plodding “Isolation” (despite Neil’s wife Sharon and son Liam pitching in) and the apathetic “Inside Out.”
Many will tell you that “Twice If You’re Lucky” is classic Crowded House. I can see how this should be a great song. It has a wonderful lyric about second chances (“These are times that come only once in your life, or twice if you’re lucky”) and the verses have potential. If Finn had come up with a compelling chorus, this could have been a winner. But he didn’t. “Twice If You’re Lucky” never quite takes off, and wastes a fine lyric on a blah melody. Of all of these 10 songs, this is the one I most wish I could love.

And the record just peters out from there, trickling away with the middling piano ballad “Elephants.” In all, the album probably earns a C+. It’s not unlistenable, there’s nothing here that utterly destroys the Crowded House legacy, but likewise, there’s nothing that adds to it either. And it loses points from me simply because an album by one of the world’s best living songwriters ought to be better than this. It’s possible that Intriguer will grow on me, but Neil Finn songs shouldn’t have to grow on me. They should grab me from listen one.

I want to love Intriguer. I don’t want to be upset with Finn for resurrecting the Crowded House name, and then turning out mediocre work under it. But that’s where I am. I feel like none of these 10 songs would have made the cut on the first four Crowded House albums. I feel like Finn himself should be bored by these tunes. I feel like listening to Woodface again, to remind me of when he was great.

But most of all, I feel like Neil Finn needs to take some time off. He’s put out an album of new songs every couple of years for a few decades now, and it sounds to me like he needs to recharge the ol’ batteries. Intriguer’s a better album than he’s made in a while, but perhaps with an extended vacation, he can come back with new material that can stand with his best. I hope so, because I hate writing unimpressed reviews of Neil Finn albums. It’s just not fun for me.
TRIANGLE MUSIC

http://fwix.com/raleigh/articl...ed_house_-_intriguer

Crowded House show no signs of slowing since they decided to reform in late 2006. They're back with their sixth album, the second since reuniting, titled Intriguer.

The album is nothing less than what one would expect from Neil Finn. The songs shine with his complex, catchy melodies and the band brings them to life with dense, carefully structured arrangements.

Things get started with the explosive single "Saturday Sun." The intricate layers of "Falling Dove" move from a soft simple tune to an overdriven jaunt, reminiscent of solo McCartney. "Twice If You're Lucky" digs back into that classic, anthem-esque Crowded House sound, with a bright melody and a gigantic chorus.

Intriguer is truly a band album and the songs really pop. Some of the songs were played on tour before being committed to tape and that live energy was captured on the album. Their previous album Time On Earth started as a Neil Finn solo album and evolved into a Crowded House album.

With Intriguer, Crowded House solidify their place in the world of modern music and not just another turn of the century reunion band. The album is solid from beginning to end and sounds fresh. Listen and enjoy.
quote:
Originally posted by In Love With It All:
Tuesday Mornining 3am Blog – by Andre Salles


This is what I'm talking about. This guy at least is putting some critical acumen into it. He appears to be a real fan, with a good grasp of what he's after, and why he's not happy. He puts his points across articulately. He can at least muster a decent critique, not like that awkward, cringe-inducingly oddball "open letter to Neil Finn" guy, whatever his name was. He came off more like some sort of...jilted hanger-on or something. A real pompous dillbag, too.

But Mr. Salles, here - needless to say I don't agree with what he's saying there about the album! I am very much into and getting deeper into this album. But I can appreciate his case and how he lays it out. Still, I'm puzzled: Maybe this guy's ears have a weird gift that mine lack, and he never had to "grow into" a Finn release? Or maybe he just doesn't remember his own ramp-up for what are in retrospect such undeniable, great songs?

For me, for all of the albums involved, I pretty much "grew into" them all. My initial reaction has almost always been something I feel like a FOOL about later, after it's become clear that the thing is as good god a'mighty glorious as my ears should easily have seen for themselves on first scent. Mind you, my initial reaction is usually very positive! But still I've found with every album of Neil's, or Tim's, or CH, there's always a major "grower" factor. No matter how much I take to a given album, no matter how enjoyable the first listens are, it's never a patch on how hard it grabs ones it really gets its hooks in. Lord, I fairly panned One Nil when I first heard it! It wasn't the followup I expected. I thought half the lyrics were preposterous, and that the melodies were on the slight side. I thought the more acoustic vibe overall was a sad slide back from the bold nutso aural grandstanding stance staked out by my by-then-beloved TWT (which had its own bit of shock resistance, when it first was unveiled!). Nowadays I can't even fathom what I was thinking with those complaints. Where was my brain? Where were my ears? It didn't take long for One Nil to slap sense into my thick skull, but at least I can remember that it was a process. Individual songs may always jump out and slappa, but over the course of any given album, Neil Finn is not a grab-me-by-my-dumb-lapels kind of songwriter. And as far as I can tell, he never was and never has been.

I think a lot of the time we grow so thoroughly into a piece of music that we forget that it wasn't instantaneous. It's true that some songs are more immediately accessible than others! In fact, the thought in my mind reading the above review was that he would have loved "Isolation" if it had been on there in its original form.

It turns out Neil wasn't so interested in that. Just as when he put out TWT, he wasn't so interested in the kind of musical textures CH was known for. Just as when he put out One Nil, he wasn't interested in making it TWT2 (my expectations aside).

I need a really good clincher sentence to sum up my whole point here, and end this.
quote:
Originally posted by In Love With It All:
Tuesday Mornining 3am Blog – by Andre Salles

http://www.tm3am.com/

Nothing's As Good As It Used to Be

Neil Finn and Trent Reznor Disappoint


Although it does seem unfair of him to slap Reznor in the headline, and then in the article, not even give him a fair shake or so much as a mention. I was looking forward to some incisive parallels being drawn between the careers of two songwriting icons!!

Man I'd love to see those two collaborate on something.
From the Washington City Paper:

Arts & Entertainment : Music Review
Intriguer Crowded House (Fantasy ) Crowded House's latest sounds a lot like Crowded House. That’s why it's a let-down.
http://www.washingtoncitypaper...-latest-sounds-a-lot

By Marc Hirsh on July 16, 2010

House Trap: Neil Finn & Co. trip over their own discography.

The last time an album came out under the Crowded House name, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Neil Finn had kept busy during the preceding 14 years—he’d recorded two worthy solo albums and two worthy collaborations with his brother Tim—but 2007’s Time On Earth was more than just a hiatus-ender. For the New Zealand group, it was also a reunion with a somber undercurrent, following as it did the suicide of original drummer Paul Hester. That double burden was ultimately (if understandably) a bit too heavy to bear gracefully. Free of such expectations, the new Intriguer should find Crowded House easing back into its sweet spot. And indeed, there are times—the woozy swirl of “Amsterdam” and the gentle swell of “Either Side of the World”—where Intriguer could be a continuation of Crowded House Version 1.0’s majestic swan song, 1993’s Together Alone. But that’s also where Intriguer stumbles, since each of the band’s first four albums had a distinct personality, even as common thread ran through them. (You can practically trace Finn’s evolution as a songwriter through the songs “Into Temptation,” “Four Seasons in One Day,” and “Nails in My Feet.”) Guided by Nick Seymour’s probing bass, “Archer’s Arrows” recalls “Private Universe,” only if that 1993 song’s arrangement had exploded and expanded along with the music itself. It’s a fine track on its own merits, but it feels a bit like it’s insisting on something the band was previously content to insinuate. It’s all the more ironic, then, that Intriguer, like its predecessor, lacks the immediacy that Crowded House previously bought to even its densest songs. But there are some genuine pleasures to be found, even if they require a little digging. The subtle but insidious “Falling Dove” makes excellent use of the Lennonesque streak that Finn has long been smart to only rarely indulge, rippling with echoes of “I’m So Tired” (and, curiously, the quiet verses of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”). Almost three and a half minutes in, “Isolation” breaks free from its draggy, limiting tempo and time signature with a clawing guitar solo that transforms the song into something more aggressive and off-kilter. And if Finn insists on including a song with the word “sun” in the title of every Crowded House album from here on out (as has been the case with the last three), he could do a whole lot worse than “Saturday Sun,” which opens Intriguer with a rush of energy. He could also do a whole lot better, however, as 1993’s perfect “Distant Sun” proved. It’s Intriguer’s great flaw that it not only has to compete with the memory of an imposing discography, but that it recalls it just enough remind us that it doesn’t measure up.
http://www.northjersey.com/com...um___Intriguer_.html

Crowded House debuts its sixth studio album, 'Intriguer'
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Last updated: Thursday July 15, 2010, 1:19 AM
The Montclair Times
The internationally acclaimed, Australian-based rock band Crowed House will make a stop in Montclair on their North American tour to introduce their new album, "Intriguer." They will perform new material as well as chart-topping hits from throughout the band's career in a performance on Friday, July 23, at the Wellmont Theatre.

Known as The Crowdies to their Australian fans, Crowded House was formed in 1985 in Melbourne, Australia, and is led by New Zealand singer-songwriter Neil Finn.

Neil Finn is widely recognized as the primary songwriter and creative director of the band, having led it through several incarnations, drawing members from New Zealand (his brother, Tim Finn, and Eddie Rayner), from Australia (Paul Hester, Nick Seymour, Peter Jones and Craig Hooper), and the United States (Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod). Both Neil Finn and Paul Hester were former members of the rock band, Split Enz, which formed in New Zealand and relocated to Australia.

Crowded House owes its original success to the Australian live music scene, though references to New Zealand people and places are included in several of their songs. ("Kare Kare" is written about Karekare Beach, and "Mean to Me" mentions Finn's hometown of Te Awamutu.) Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the Order of the British Empire on both Tim and Neal Finn in June 1993, for their contributions to the music of New Zealand.

Originally active during 1985 through 1996, the band has had consistent commercial and critical success in Australia and New Zealand; and international chart success in two phases. Their self-titled first album "Crowded House" peaked at No. 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 in 1987, and provided the Top Ten hits "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong."

The second phase of international success was experienced in the U.K. and Europe with their third and fourth albums, "Woodface" and "Together Alone," and their compilation album, "Recurring Dream," which included the hits "Fall at Your Feet," "Weather and You," "Distant Sun," "Locked Out," "Instinct" and "Not the Girl You Think You Are."

In March 1987, the group was awarded "Best New Talent" and "Song of the Year" and "Best Video" for "Don't Dream It's Over" at the inaugural ARIA Music Awards. While "Don't Dream It's Over' reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 in April of that year, its video earned the group the MTV Video Music Award for "Best New Artist" that year — one of the many awards received by the band. The song was covered by Paul Young in 1991, Sixpence None the Richer in 2003, and Sarah Blasko in 2005. "Don't Dream It's Over" was used in the 1994 mini-series, "The Stand," based on Stephen King's novel "The Stand." It was also used for a New Zealand Tourism Board advertisement in its "100% Pure New Zealand" worldwide promotion in October 2005. In May 2001, for its 75th anniversary, the Australian Performing Rights Association voted for the best Australian Song of all times, as decided by a 100-person industry panel; "Don't Dream It's Over" was ranked seventh.

Founding drummer Paul Hester left the band in May 1994, citing family reasons, but briefly returned for their 1996 final tour prior to disbanding in November of that year. (Neil Finn had decided to concentrate on his solo career, and with Tim in the Finn Brothers). In March 2005, with a previous history of depression, Hester hanged himself from a tree in a park near his home at age 46. In 2006, the group reunited with a new drummer, Matt Sherrod, and released their fifth album, "Time on Earth" in June 2006, which reached No. 1 on Australia's ARIA Album Charts.

In August 2009, Finn traveled to Los Angeles to finish the band's sixth and latest album called "Intriguer." Finn has stated that the album contains some "unexpected twists and turns" and a few songs that "sound nothing like we've done before."

As the central songwriter for the band, Neil Finn's music has always been the driving force for the band's song catalog. He has often cited artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and folk rock artists such as John Denver and Joan Baez as his influences. Finn's mother was a significant musical influence, encouraging him to listen to a variety of musical styles, including Irish folk music and Maori music. The influences of Maori can be heard in "Together Alone" and in "Finn."

As a songwriter, Finn often writes lyrics in sonnet form with rhymes, similes and metaphors combined with literal descriptions. Some songs have random lines, such as in "Pineapple Head" from the album, "Together Alone," based on words murmured by younger son, Elroy, when he was sick and delirious with a fever as a young child.

Nick Seymour, an art school graduate and professional artist, fills the role as costume and set designer for the group. Seymour designed or co-designed all of the album covers and has continued to maintain that visual artistic direction. Though all of the album covers were by Seymour, the majority of the single covers were not.

Crowded House's cache of studio albums include "Crowded House," 1986; "Temple of Low Men," 1988; "Woodface," 1991; "Together Alone," 1993; "Time on Earth," 2007; and "Intriguer," 2010. The rock group will be playing selections from their sixth studio album, "Intriguer,' when they take center stage on July 23 at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair.

The internationally acclaimed, Australian-based rock band Crowed House will make a stop in Montclair on their North American tour to introduce their new album, "Intriguer." They will perform new material as well as chart-topping hits from throughout the band's career in a performance on Friday, July 23, at the Wellmont Theatre.


PHOTO COURTESY OF CYBELE MALINOWSKI
The Australian rock band, Crowded House, above, led by New Zealand singer-songwriter Neil Finn, was formed in 1985 in Melbourne, Australia. The band members are, from left, Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Matt Sherrod and Mark Hart. For their concert at the Wellmont, they will perform selections from their new album, 'Intriguer,' which according to Finn, contains some 'unexpected twists and turns and a few songs that sound like nothing we've ever done before.' Known as The Crowdies to their Australian fans, Crowded House was formed in 1985 in Melbourne, Australia, and is led by New Zealand singer-songwriter Neil Finn.

Neil Finn is widely recognized as the primary songwriter and creative director of the band, having led it through several incarnations, drawing members from New Zealand (his brother, Tim Finn, and Eddie Rayner), from Australia (Paul Hester, Nick Seymour, Peter Jones and Craig Hooper), and the United States (Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod). Both Neil Finn and Paul Hester were former members of the rock band, Split Enz, which formed in New Zealand and relocated to Australia.

Crowded House owes its original success to the Australian live music scene, though references to New Zealand people and places are included in several of their songs. ("Kare Kare" is written about Karekare Beach, and "Mean to Me" mentions Finn's hometown of Te Awamutu.) Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the Order of the British Empire on both Tim and Neal Finn in June 1993, for their contributions to the music of New Zealand.

Originally active during 1985 through 1996, the band has had consistent commercial and critical success in Australia and New Zealand; and international chart success in two phases. Their self-titled first album "Crowded House" peaked at No. 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 in 1987, and provided the Top Ten hits "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong."

The second phase of international success was experienced in the U.K. and Europe with their third and fourth albums, "Woodface" and "Together Alone," and their compilation album, "Recurring Dream," which included the hits "Fall at Your Feet," "Weather and You," "Distant Sun," "Locked Out," "Instinct" and "Not the Girl You Think You Are."

In March 1987, the group was awarded "Best New Talent" and "Song of the Year" and "Best Video" for "Don't Dream It's Over" at the inaugural ARIA Music Awards. While "Don't Dream It's Over' reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 in April of that year, its video earned the group the MTV Video Music Award for "Best New Artist" that year — one of the many awards received by the band. The song was covered by Paul Young in 1991, Sixpence None the Richer in 2003, and Sarah Blasko in 2005. "Don't Dream It's Over" was used in the 1994 mini-series, "The Stand," based on Stephen King's novel "The Stand." It was also used for a New Zealand Tourism Board advertisement in its "100% Pure New Zealand" worldwide promotion in October 2005. In May 2001, for its 75th anniversary, the Australian Performing Rights Association voted for the best Australian Song of all times, as decided by a 100-person industry panel; "Don't Dream It's Over" was ranked seventh.

Founding drummer Paul Hester left the band in May 1994, citing family reasons, but briefly returned for their 1996 final tour prior to disbanding in November of that year. (Neil Finn had decided to concentrate on his solo career, and with Tim in the Finn Brothers). In March 2005, with a previous history of depression, Hester hanged himself from a tree in a park near his home at age 46. In 2006, the group reunited with a new drummer, Matt Sherrod, and released their fifth album, "Time on Earth" in June 2006, which reached No. 1 on Australia's ARIA Album Charts.

In August 2009, Finn traveled to Los Angeles to finish the band's sixth and latest album called "Intriguer." Finn has stated that the album contains some "unexpected twists and turns" and a few songs that "sound nothing like we've done before."

As the central songwriter for the band, Neil Finn's music has always been the driving force for the band's song catalog. He has often cited artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and folk rock artists such as John Denver and Joan Baez as his influences. Finn's mother was a significant musical influence, encouraging him to listen to a variety of musical styles, including Irish folk music and Maori music. The influences of Maori can be heard in "Together Alone" and in "Finn."

As a songwriter, Finn often writes lyrics in sonnet form with rhymes, similes and metaphors combined with literal descriptions. Some songs have random lines, such as in "Pineapple Head" from the album, "Together Alone," based on words murmured by younger son, Elroy, when he was sick and delirious with a fever as a young child.

Nick Seymour, an art school graduate and professional artist, fills the role as costume and set designer for the group. Seymour designed or co-designed all of the album covers and has continued to maintain that visual artistic direction. Though all of the album covers were by Seymour, the majority of the single covers were not.

Crowded House's cache of studio albums include "Crowded House," 1986; "Temple of Low Men," 1988; "Woodface," 1991; "Together Alone," 1993; "Time on Earth," 2007; and "Intriguer," 2010. The rock group will be playing selections from their sixth studio album, "Intriguer,' when they take center stage on July 23 at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair.

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