Crowded House Time On Earth

Crowded House Time On Earth
When Neil Finn surprisingly pulled the plug on these Antipodean pop heroes just over a decade ago, fans felt he’d left some business unfinished. They’ll be thrilled at their reunion, though cynics might consider Finn’s faltering solo career a factor. CH without drummer/livewire Paul Hester is akin to the Who minus Keith Moon but the group format seems to energise Finn. Bassist Nick Seymour and one-time House guest Mark Hart are back (no Tim Finn in sight) and production from Ethan Johns and Steve Lillywhite capture these new compositions with clarity. After a hesitant beginning (the rather goofy album lowlight "She Called Up”), the disc catches fire a few tracks in with a string of songs confirming that Finn is a writer and singer of melodic pop rock with few current peers. From the gorgeous piano and string-drenched ballad "Pour Le Monde” to sweetly haunting songs like "Say That Again,” "A Sigh” and "Heaven That I’m Making” to the breezy "Transit Lounge,” he’s in top form. That distinctive and convincing voice even makes the rather trite symbolism of "People Are Like Suns” seem meaningful, while other tunes are of a higher lyrical standard ("the liars have moved in, and they brew their own dark medicine”). Johnny Marr co-wrote and plays on the catchy, upbeat "Even A Child,” while the lovely "Silent House” is a co-write with the Dixie Chicks. Crowded House have clearly retained peer respect and they’re worthy of yours. (ATO)