Liam Finn & Eliza Jane Champagne In Seashells

The inevitability of Liam Finn pursuing a musical career must have weighed on him for a long, long time. As the son of Crowded House's Neil Finn, he was well known in New Zealand as part of Betchadupa before his solo debut in 2007, which, not surprisingly, was reminiscent of his father's best material, with a touch of Joseph Arthur thrown in. Champagne In Seashells is a slightly different proposal, thanks to the involvement of Eliza Jane Barnes, someone who's played with him live for some time. While this is still very much Finn's record, having Barnes in the background provides some much-needed contrast in the gentler moments, like "On Your Side," where she takes the lead. That doesn't mean that this EP doesn't dial things up on occasion. The first track, "Plane Crash," builds to a wonderfully satisfying psychedelic freak-out, while "Long Way To Go" nails the catchy pop song perfectly. Best of all, Finn makes it all sound fresh and interesting, making the prospect of his second album an exciting one. (Yep Roc)