Finn - Parlophone: a review

IKON - December 1995, page 92
by Michael Odell

A warm-up for next year's Crowded House album proper? Another outlet for the prodigious songwriting of the brothers Finn? (Tim has hardly had time to unpack his collection of hotel dressing gowns and ashtrays from this summer's global jaunt with hobby band Alt.)

Recorded summer of '94, Neil and Tim Finn have apparently long intended a sibling collaboration, but the last batch of co-writes emerged as the Crowded House album Woodface instead. As a belated family get-together, Finn will do nicely.

The territory is mostly well-travelled. Written during a six-week holiday in Polynesia, the mood is predictably toes-in-pool, acoustic-in-hand. Eventually recorded in New Zealand on a budget of about L5, they played the instruments themselves, distilling their craft to the raw materials of word and harmony.

Only Talking Sense is a classic Finn confessional, a lyrical blizzard of mots justes and tangled melodies. Last Day Of June is a lovely piano lament which sounds like a Woodface out-take. Angels Heap again hits the spot.

And so it goes...

Of course it wouldn't be the pesky Finns if the project wasn't somehow booby-trapped. Paradise opens with what sounds like chucking out time down Polynesia High Street, all blokey bellowing and chanting. Then it develops into a eulogy to their holiday destination played on, er, ukeleles. It should make you want to puke. By its fading chants you are faced with the question: "Why am I hula dancing on the sofa?"

When they tool up, plug in and rock out, they can be forgettable (Kiss The Road Of Rarotonga, for example, sounds like The Fall being attacked by a swarm of bees). Keeping it simple, they are beguiling and untouchable.

Unhappily for the oppo, this is merely the Finns fiddling about. Next year everyone will just look amateur.

thanks to Linda Grudgings [] for typing this out

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