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Crowded House



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Album name:Time on Earth

Fourteen years, a live CD/DVD, some solo albums, and one tragic suicide after Crowded House's last release comes this highly anticipated reunion. Singer/songwriter Neil Finn andbassist Nick Seymour reunited after the 2005 death of drummer Paul Hester, brought in a new member and two producers (Ethan Johns and Steve Lillywhite) to replace longtime cohort Mitchell Froom, and the impressive result is a logical and overdue addition to the band's previous four albums. Finn's knack for a melodic ballad remains firmly in place as Time on Earth coasts on his dreamy voice and introspective, hook-laden pop choruses. However, this is a more reflective collection that requires a few spins to fully reveal its charms. Finn co-writes 'Even a Child' with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, and that and the frisky 'She Called Up' are the most buoyant tracks on this predominantly pensive disc. Finn has generally shaded towards a darker edge and this hour-long set might have benefited from more of the lighter touch he applies to 'Transit Lounge,' a song enhanced by Beth Rowley's lovely and startling wordless vocals along with jazzy electric piano and even airport sound effects. Strings, sitar, and intricate production add subtle elements that bolster the timeless musical qualities Finn has always reveled in. The ominous, even brooding 'Silent House,' a co-write with all three Dixie Chicks, is another highlight that sounds like nothing either has done before as it floats along on fuzz guitar and hurdy-gurdy, both courtesy of Johns. Trimming some weaker cuts would have made this a more focused listen, but Time on Earth is a worthy successor to Crowded House's existing catalog--a high compliment indeed.


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