Goodness, this is a contentious thread!

Woodface was the very first CD I ever bought (being a very very late adapter, I clung to my cassettes & vinyl for an eon.) In fact, I bought it before I actually had a CD player, so it sat around my house laughing at me for a couple months before I could crack it open.

This is such a joyous recording! How could anyone not fall in love with it?
Inspired by this thread, and happily fatigued after a weekend with my daughters, I sat down on the floor in front of my stereo and listened to Woodface from beginning to end. In the dark.

Here's the thing: it's timeless.

People sometimes use the word "patchwork" to describe the album. For me it's anything but. There is a cohesiveness to the whole thing that still amazes. It's a combination of the songwriting, the performances, the recording and engineering - can't really articulate it - they just had a great thing going on.

CHOCOLATECAKEIT'SONLYNATURALFALLATYOURFEET
TALLTREESWEATHERWITHYOUWHISPERSANDMOANS
FOURSEASONSINONEDAYTHEREGOESGODFAMEISALLIASK
ASSUREASIAMITALIANPLASTICSHEGOESONHOWWILLYOUGO

YES.
Woodface is a great, great record - but that doesn't make it perfect. It's a wee bit flaccid in places; just the fact that it contains All I Ask, Tall Trees and Fame Is proves it's too long. For me, those could all go away and I'd never notice their absence. (My fave, ToLM, has no disposable tracks.) But none of that is meant, by me at least, to suggest that it isn't a brilliant LP. There are just so many amazing tunes on here - it makes the less substantial ones look even worse than they might have elsewhere.
After a crappy day at work, i get home and take a notion and listen to woodface. It put me in a good mood. This is what good music does; it lifts your spirits up. In that respect, Woodface is a excellent album. Its not my favourite record, but i can certinaly see why it means so much to so many people, and if it does that, its doing a good thing.
Hmmm - I have never been sure about whether an album is too long or too short. Woodface seems to have generated a fair bit of debate but for mine both Together Alone and Time On Earth seem (I havent checked the actual recorded time) as long.

The down side is that some songs can get lost at the wrong end of the album - I think She Goes On could be a case in point. However I dont think I would leave anything off Woodface now. I will also put up my hand to defend Tall Trees - I think its a really good song. Fame is seems okay and All I Ask is terrific but could have done with some work on the lyrics.

But the great songs are in abundance - FAYF, Whispers, Natural, WWY, She Goes On, Four Seasons, HWYG, God etc)

Conversely there are a couple of songs on TOLM (an album I love!!) that were clearly not up to the mark for mine. Kill Eye is possibly the weakest CH song and I dont think Mansion in the Slums is that great either. Even In the Lowlands sound a bit unfinished.

Even with these minor issues the quality of songs on TOLM (Possesed, Temptation, WUC, Never, LTL, SM and BBHS) were easily enough to ensure its greatness. Much shorter though!!
quote:
Originally posted by titus:
Kill Eye is possibly the weakest CH song


I've never understood what people have against Kill Eye. I love the surreal imagery ("I want the earth to open up/and hold me" and other lines), the vaguely Middle Eastern flavor of the Mellotron strings in the chorus, and the sandpaper grittiness of Neil's singing. It's his most raw vocal on an album, I'm pretty sure. And I love the stereo separation of Paul's drums on the left (and what a wonderful THWACK!! his snare drum has on that track), Neil's voice and guitar in the center, and Nick's bass on the right - that mixing choice was unusual and brave, and really emphasizes what a tight unit they had become as a band.

Anyway, I know this is a Woodface thread but just had to give Kill Eye some much-needed love. I've liked it since I heard my sister playing her TOLM cassette tape when I was 11. Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by titus:
Conversely there are a couple of songs on TOLM (an album I love!!) that were clearly not up to the mark for mine. Kill Eye is possibly the weakest CH song and I dont think Mansion in the Slums is that great either. Even In the Lowlands sound a bit unfinished. !


Titus, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are so wrong! Wink

Mansion in the slums is a brilliant tune and my fav CH song ever and I totally agree with Slowpogo that Kill Eye is a rocking tune that deserves a lot more praise than it ever got. In fact I also (shock horror) agree with Adidasman when he says there are no throw away tracks on TOLM (which is not the case for Woodface). TOLM is definitely better than Woodface, though not quite as good as TA.

None of this means I don't love Woodface, but Woodface was very much a first love, and although most music fans never forget their first musical love they often move on to better more satisfying things.
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
quote:
Originally posted by titus:
Conversely there are a couple of songs on TOLM (an album I love!!) that were clearly not up to the mark for mine. Kill Eye is possibly the weakest CH song and I dont think Mansion in the Slums is that great either. Even In the Lowlands sound a bit unfinished. !


Titus, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are so wrong! Wink

Mansion in the slums is a brilliant tune and my fav CH song ever and I totally agree with Slowpogo that Kill Eye is a rocking tune that deserves a lot more praise than it ever got. In fact I also (shock horror) agree with Adidasman when he says there are no throw away tracks on TOLM (which is not the case for Woodface). TOLM is definitely better than Woodface, though not quite as good as TA.

None of this means I don't love Woodface, but Woodface was very much a first love, and although most music fans never forget their first musical love they often move on to better more satisfying things.
It's a red letter day, folks - read that again, in an edited version that looks like one of those patched-together reviews they put in movie ads:

"In fact I also...agree with Adidasman..."

Sweet! I think I may need to add that to the bottom of all my posts. Wink Anyway, it does always shock me when people dislike Kill Eye - it's just such a cool tune, especially coming as it does right in between I Feel Possessed and Into Temptation. It's just such a satisfying sequence of songs. And Woodface, while it's got more pure pop classics than does ToLM, wanders off in too many different directions for my taste - and, for me, things like It's Only Natural have not aged well. (It's just a bit too lifeless; it needed the kind of spark SSS has, and it just never finds it.) And How Will You Go and She Goes On are like two versions of the same song; both really good, but the album didn't need both of them (especially at the very end of the record). ToLM was a vinyl album by design, which explains its brevity; maybe the expanded lnegth of the CD just went to the guys' heads and they decided that, since there was room for all of it, might as well throw it on there. man, just think of how great Afterglow would have been had they left a few tunes off of Woodface; they would have needed Afterglow Vols. One and Two.

"In fact I also...agree with Adidasman..." - Kittybear Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by adidasman:
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
quote:
Originally posted by titus:
Conversely there are a couple of songs on TOLM (an album I love!!) that were clearly not up to the mark for mine. Kill Eye is possibly the weakest CH song and I dont think Mansion in the Slums is that great either. Even In the Lowlands sound a bit unfinished. !


Titus, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are so wrong! Wink

Mansion in the slums is a brilliant tune and my fav CH song ever and I totally agree with Slowpogo that Kill Eye is a rocking tune that deserves a lot more praise than it ever got. In fact I also (shock horror) agree with Adidasman when he says there are no throw away tracks on TOLM (which is not the case for Woodface). TOLM is definitely better than Woodface, though not quite as good as TA.

None of this means I don't love Woodface, but Woodface was very much a first love, and although most music fans never forget their first musical love they often move on to better more satisfying things.
It's a red letter day, folks - read that again, in an edited version that looks like one of those patched-together reviews they put in movie ads:

"In fact I also...agree with Adidasman..."

Sweet! I think I may need to add that to the bottom of all my posts. Wink Anyway, it does always shock me when people dislike Kill Eye - it's just such a cool tune, especially coming as it does right in between I Feel Possessed and Into Temptation. It's just such a satisfying sequence of songs. And Woodface, while it's got more pure pop classics than does ToLM, wanders off in too many different directions for my taste - and, for me, things like It's Only Natural have not aged well. (It's just a bit too lifeless; it needed the kind of spark SSS has, and it just never finds it.) And How Will You Go and She Goes On are like two versions of the same song; both really good, but the album didn't need both of them (especially at the very end of the record). ToLM was a vinyl album by design, which explains its brevity; maybe the expanded lnegth of the CD just went to the guys' heads and they decided that, since there was room for all of it, might as well throw it on there. man, just think of how great Afterglow would have been had they left a few tunes off of Woodface; they would have needed Afterglow Vols. One and Two.

"In fact I also...agree with Adidasman..." - Kittybear Smiler


Now be careful Adidasman, this can in fact work both ways Wink
If I agree with you, that means in fact you agree with me, we agree with each other! Smiler
Are you sure you want to be so closely associated with someone like me?
If I were you I'd run for the hills Wink
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
quote:
Originally posted by adidasman:
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
quote:
Originally posted by titus:
Conversely there are a couple of songs on TOLM (an album I love!!) that were clearly not up to the mark for mine. Kill Eye is possibly the weakest CH song and I dont think Mansion in the Slums is that great either. Even In the Lowlands sound a bit unfinished. !


Titus, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are so wrong! Wink

Mansion in the slums is a brilliant tune and my fav CH song ever and I totally agree with Slowpogo that Kill Eye is a rocking tune that deserves a lot more praise than it ever got. In fact I also (shock horror) agree with Adidasman when he says there are no throw away tracks on TOLM (which is not the case for Woodface). TOLM is definitely better than Woodface, though not quite as good as TA.

None of this means I don't love Woodface, but Woodface was very much a first love, and although most music fans never forget their first musical love they often move on to better more satisfying things.
It's a red letter day, folks - read that again, in an edited version that looks like one of those patched-together reviews they put in movie ads:

"In fact I also...agree with Adidasman..."

Sweet! I think I may need to add that to the bottom of all my posts. Wink Anyway, it does always shock me when people dislike Kill Eye - it's just such a cool tune, especially coming as it does right in between I Feel Possessed and Into Temptation. It's just such a satisfying sequence of songs. And Woodface, while it's got more pure pop classics than does ToLM, wanders off in too many different directions for my taste - and, for me, things like It's Only Natural have not aged well. (It's just a bit too lifeless; it needed the kind of spark SSS has, and it just never finds it.) And How Will You Go and She Goes On are like two versions of the same song; both really good, but the album didn't need both of them (especially at the very end of the record). ToLM was a vinyl album by design, which explains its brevity; maybe the expanded lnegth of the CD just went to the guys' heads and they decided that, since there was room for all of it, might as well throw it on there. man, just think of how great Afterglow would have been had they left a few tunes off of Woodface; they would have needed Afterglow Vols. One and Two.

"In fact I also...agree with Adidasman..." - Kittybear Smiler


Now be careful Adidasman, this can in fact work both ways Wink
If I agree with you, that means in fact you agree with me, we agree with each other! Smiler
Are you sure you want to be so closely associated with someone like me?
If I were you I'd run for the hills Wink
That goes both ways, of course - so I'll take my chances. I can always redo my little signature thingie if you go off the rails. Wink
Hey, this conversation is boring! Can we talk about Woodface again? How about those Murchison demos? I think Woodface could had been even bigger if those had been released instead of the over produced Froom versions! Who's with me?
quote:
Originally posted by Paināporo:
Hey, this conversation is boring! Can we talk about Woodface again? How about those Murchison demos? I think Woodface could had been even bigger if those had been released instead of the over produced Froom versions! Who's with me?


Too true Painaporo Smiler. Totally dull.

The Murchinson demos, I'm afraid you have the advantage on me since I have never heard them, are they legally commercially available? What do they include and how do you think they would make Woodface better?

Woodface was CH's most commercial album in the UK (apart from Recurring Dream), it was just the right record at the right time to break them here.

Do the sessions hold tracks that are as commercial and accessible in the same way that WWY or 4SI1D are? If so I think EMI/the band would have used them.
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
quote:
Originally posted by Paināporo:
Hey, this conversation is boring! Can we talk about Woodface again? How about those Murchison demos? I think Woodface could had been even bigger if those had been released instead of the over produced Froom versions! Who's with me?


Too true Painaporo Smiler. Totally dull.

The Murchinson demos, I'm afraid you have the advantage on me since I have never heard them, are they legally commercially available? What do they include and how do you think they would make Woodface better?

Woodface was CH's most commercial album in the UK (apart from Recurring Dream), it was just the right record at the right time to break them here.

Do the sessions hold tracks that are as commercial and accessible in the same way that WWY or 4SI1D are? If so I think EMI/the band would have used them.


Sorry, I should have clarified. I'm simply referring to the Woodface demos, which I believe were recorded at a flat on Murchison Street in Melbourne. There are ten that have been officially released, mostly as b-sides to singles from the first Finn Brothers album:

Weather With You
Strangeness and Charm
Four Seasons In One Day
It's Only Natural
Prodigal Son
There Goes God
Chocolate Cake
In Love With It All
Catherine Wheels
How Will You Go

It gives you an idea of what the first Finn Brothers album could have looked like if it hadn't been incorporated into a CH album. There are probably some other demos from these sessions yet to be released. We'll have to wait for that darn box set to find out.
quote:
Originally posted by Paināporo:
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
quote:
Originally posted by Paināporo:
Hey, this conversation is boring! Can we talk about Woodface again? How about those Murchison demos? I think Woodface could had been even bigger if those had been released instead of the over produced Froom versions! Who's with me?


Too true Painaporo Smiler. Totally dull.

The Murchinson demos, I'm afraid you have the advantage on me since I have never heard them, are they legally commercially available? What do they include and how do you think they would make Woodface better?

Woodface was CH's most commercial album in the UK (apart from Recurring Dream), it was just the right record at the right time to break them here.

Do the sessions hold tracks that are as commercial and accessible in the same way that WWY or 4SI1D are? If so I think EMI/the band would have used them.


Sorry, I should have clarified. I'm simply referring to the Woodface demos, which I believe were recorded at a flat on Murchison Street in Melbourne. There are ten that have been officially released, mostly as b-sides to singles from the first Finn Brothers album:

Weather With You
Strangeness and Charm
Four Seasons In One Day
It's Only Natural
Prodigal Son
There Goes God
Chocolate Cake
In Love With It All
Catherine Wheels
How Will You Go

It gives you an idea of what the first Finn Brothers album could have looked like if it hadn't been incorporated into a CH album. There are probably some other demos from these sessions yet to be released. We'll have to wait for that darn box set to find out.
If you're expecting that shot at my boy Froom to set me off, you're sadly mistaken. I refuse to take the bait. Wink
quote:
Originally posted by Paināporo:
Sorry, I should have clarified. I'm simply referring to the Woodface demos, which I believe were recorded at a flat on Murchison Street in Melbourne. There are ten that have been officially released, mostly as b-sides to singles from the first Finn Brothers album:

Weather With You
Strangeness and Charm
Four Seasons In One Day
It's Only Natural
Prodigal Son
There Goes God
Chocolate Cake
In Love With It All
Catherine Wheels
How Will You Go

It gives you an idea of what the first Finn Brothers album could have looked like if it hadn't been incorporated into a CH album. There are probably some other demos from these sessions yet to be released. We'll have to wait for that darn box set to find out.


My point is that when Woodface was released CH were at a very particular stage in their career, they were doing well in the Antipodes, they'd had some success in America (sadly never to be repeated) but they hadn't cracked the UK/Europe. For that they needed a really commercial album. Woodface was the right album to do that, it had the right mix of commercial songs, melodic harmony and driving guitars to make people (who had previously overlooked CH and TOLM) pay attention.

Now I've not heard these session tracks (who produced them, I assume not Froom?). But I know most of the songs (except Prodigal son) and I can't imagine how Woodface could be made more commercially effective by adding in any of the ones they left out, and I would add that although the album isn't perfect Froom's production is highly commercial and saleable.

So Painaporo I think that your longing to make it "bigger and better" is as a long term fan who loves oddities and rarities and that the likely effect of such twiddling would have in fact made Woodface less commercial at a time when a commercial record was exactly what was required.
I'm surprised you haven't heard the demos Kittybear. I thought they were required listening. They're certainly worth tracking down. "Weather With You" has 1/2 a verse that was removed from the studio version, "It's Only Natural" has a much different groove, and "Prodigal Son" is surprisingly good for a song that never made it past the demo stage.

The demos were produced only by Neil and Tim, who perform all parts expect for a couple tracks where Paul Hester stopped in to do some drumming. I wouldn't seriously suggest replacing anything on Woodface with these demos, but if someone wanted an extended Woodface it wouldn't be hard thanks to the songs on Afterglow and Tim's Before & After album.

For a time I did split Woodface into two albums, a CH version and a FB version. Ultimately I don't think it worked, but it was fun to listen to.
quote:
Originally posted by Paināporo:
I'm surprised you haven't heard the demos Kittybear. I thought they were required listening. They're certainly worth tracking down. "Weather With You" has 1/2 a verse that was removed from the studio version, "It's Only Natural" has a much different groove, and "Prodigal Son" is surprisingly good for a song that never made it past the demo stage.

The demos were produced only by Neil and Tim, who perform all parts expect for a couple tracks where Paul Hester stopped in to do some drumming. I wouldn't seriously suggest replacing anything on Woodface with these demos, but if someone wanted an extended Woodface it wouldn't be hard thanks to the songs on Afterglow and Tim's Before & After album.

For a time I did split Woodface into two albums, a CH version and a FB version. Ultimately I don't think it worked, but it was fun to listen to.


Wouldn't I love to hear all sorts of rarities and oddities, YES. But I'm lacking in both time (for tracking them down) and finances (for buying them) so I don't suffer from FOMO, I just accept that some things are never going to come my way. Smiler
Woodface has always been a strange album for me in that the others I have listened to and loved straight away - especially Together Alone and their self titled debut. I never liked Woodface to begin with all that much, it just seemed too long with a sameness about it. But after several listens the magic began to work. I began to appreciate the beautiful harmonies of Tim and Neil - the lovely ballads and the humour within Chocolate Cake & There Goes God. Far from being similar I now think, along with Together Alone, it is one of the more diverse albums they brought out. One track I do like, which does not always seem to rate highly with other people, is Tall Trees. I can't think of a more wonderful track to come before the magnificent Weather With You. Big Grin
Also, as a guitar player, many of the songs are wonderful to play on an accoustic!

Doogle
It's the first and as yet only album I listened to, immediately after purchase, from start to finish without interruption, four times in a row
quote:
One track I do like, which does not always seem to rate highly with other people, is Tall Trees.


Tall Trees is high on my list from Woodface also. It often is the song still swimming in my head through the next couple days after having listened to the album!!

When Woodface was given to me, it came with a bias. The friend who gave it to me, I adore and he feels Woodface is his favorite album. I do love the album, and it holds a lot sentimental value to it for he and myself. But I still reserve judgement on my fave album until I have listened to all in exclusiveness, and see what draws me back again and again.

I still feel that so far, each album has a mood. And which I am drawn to will depend on that mood. Woodface, deffo makes me happy!
quote:
Originally posted by TruTwisty:
quote:
One track I do like, which does not always seem to rate highly with other people, is Tall Trees.


Tall Trees is high on my list from Woodface also. It often is the song still swimming in my head through the next couple days after having listened to the album!!


Yeah, Tall Trees is one that many people consider a weak track, but I've always liked it. (Same with Kill Eye.)

I suppose lyrically, it's nothing special by Finn standards, but their voices together make the song. I also love the bridge and the parts immediately before and after it - a moody transition with a fantastic drum fill by Paul, and a nifty, almost-bluesy guitar solo following.

And, has been discussed before, I love how right after the final guitar chords decay, Weather With You just kicks right in, riding on the coattails of Tall Trees' energy. It's one of those great moments that makes an album special, and Woodface would be worse off without it.
Tall Trees was used lots of times to great effect as the opening song in the Woodface live shows 1991/92 - fan club CDs Newcastle Jam, Bent In Gent, and Hometown for example - and so whenever I hear it now it reminds me of those shows.
quote:
and so whenever I hear it now it reminds me of those shows.


You don't know how much I'm envious (in a good way)! Should be fantastic to see them live!

quote:
Originally posted by Slowpogo:

And, has been discussed before, I love how right after the final guitar chords decay, Weather With You just kicks right in, riding on the coattails of Tall Trees' energy. It's one of those great moments that makes an album special, and Woodface would be worse off without it.


Out of curiosity I went to listen to TT / WWY again (a good excuse to listen to ALL the album one time more) and I have to agree. I'm fond also of the way FSIOD sweet end turn into HGG.
If it's not been done before maybe you could start a thread on this topic...

BUMP!!!

 

Having read Something So Strong recently, I am puzzled and I wondered if anyone can answer my query.

 

It concerns FSI1D, now I always understood this song was a co-write with Tim and I've even heard the Finn demo of it.

 

But Bourke refers to FSI1D as being part of the orginal CH LA sessions with Mitchell Froom which led the first version of Woodface that Capitol record rejected.  Now Bourke explains in some detail how Neil agonised about the songs for Woodface, how he felt he couldn't use the songs he'd written with Tim and that was why he invited Tim to join CH, so Tim could be a part of the recording of the co-written songs.

 

So what was FSI1D like when CH recorded it in LA and what did Tim add it to make the song a co-write?

 

This maybe a question no one can answer, nevertheless I thought I'd throw it out there!

Think what this is what you're after kittybear:

 

"The music was written quite a long time ago as an instrumental, I spent an

afternoon in Melbourne one day playing an E-Max, a keyboard with string sounds

on it, and I spent a day just writing string parts and playing piano parts. The

music for both Into Temptation and Four Seasons in One Day happened at the same time. They were part of the same piece at one point, and they are sister songs in tempo and atmosphere. When Tim and I started writing songs for the first Finn brothers record - which became Woodface - there was a day when I put that down and we threw lyrics at each other and they came very quickly. I can't remember whether it was his title or not, but generally Tim is very good with titles." - Neil Finn

 

The New Zealand Herald: 24th March 2001 - Graham Reid 

& Performing Musician - November 2009

 

 

Thanks  H2WS , that explains a lot. 

 

I can in fact now see how Into Temptation and Four Seasons could be borne of the same musical inspiration. 

 

It is interesting to imagine what the song would have sounded like before Neil and Tim reworked it together, what was it called even?  There must be some dusty old tape in some Capitol archive somewhere with the original, original version on it, how I would love to hear that!

I've been framing up color pics from the WF songbook and the CD packaging and I really felt kinda dumb when I finally noticed something. The pic of the band's faces... which I'd always presumed was their bodies buried in sand...   it's not sand but sawdust and wood shavings?    Wood face. D'oh!

Bandie posted:
I wish I could remember where and when Eddie Rayner said (obviously I paraphrase) that there's nothing like the Finns together on one track, and that for me, as first and foremost an Enz fan, is the special thing about Woodface. Temple is still my favourite Crowded House album but there's so much on Woodface to love. Its origins as the proto-Finn Bros album are clear, but Hessie and Nick in the mix, bliss.

I think (and anyone feel free to correct me) that Eddie said that on one of the Enzso discs. I distantly remember reading the quote while listening to a stunning orchestra... but perhaps I just had the record playing.

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