And we’re live! Back for another week of the Crowded House album by album weekly broadcasts on Fangradio, Neil Finn is joined again by fellow bandmates (including his two sons) as they dive into the band’s 2007 album Time on Earth. The album is the first one in eleven years since the group disbanded in 1996, and the first to introduce a new drummer in replacement of original member Paul Hester who took his own life two years prior. Showcasing an older, wiser band who had grown together through hardships, Time on Earth remains a classic fan-favourite.
Starting with opening track ‘Nobody Wants To,’ Finn right away gets into his acoustic rendition before joking that he’s created “Fangradio’s most sophisticated set up ever.” Pointing out the studio he’s in, he calls out his instruments, his supportive staff “and the excellent espresso machine.” Clearly, only the best for one of NZ’s finest.
Then we’re into the hit ‘Don’t Stop Now,’ a song Finn says was written in the quaint village of Freshford, England. The group reminisce on that memory for a second before remembering they’re live and continuing to mess around with the reverb. “Too much reverb someone is saying.” You can almost picture Finn rolling his eyes as he repeats in a mocking tone “too much reverb! Bloody deal with it.”
Next comes ‘She Called Up’, a usually upbeat track that masks the very real sadness of the band finding out about Hester’s death. But today, we get to hear the song as if it’s brand new as Finn strips it back and sings it soft and slow. “This one has been reimagined and repurposed, and I think I like it better this way.” From there we’re into ‘Say That Again’ and ‘Pour le monde’ and then Finn’s switching up the programme.
“The next one I’m gonna play is actually from Woodface,” Finn introduces before he and the band delve into ‘Whispers and Moans’ from the 1991 record. Bringing the track back to life, he experiments with it and offers up some new subtle touches. “I can hear the flutter of applause from around the planet,” he says when he’s finished. “I’m so glad you’re listening.”
Then it’s time for this week’s Tree Review, and it’s brought to us by Nick Seymour. The bassist painted the tree on Time on Earth’s cover, and he proceeds to tell us the meaning behind the Italian stone pine. It self-seeds, it’s indigenous to the Italian area, it reminds him of the assemblies back at school when he was younger in Australia. That’s all well and good, but Finn would like to know if you can eat the pinecones that grow on it. “I don’t know, I suppose they’ve tried,” Nick answers. “But whoever the genius is that put basil and pine nuts together to make pesto … thank you.”
Back to the music. “I’ve skipped a few songs,” starts Finn, “but I’ve just picked my favourites off this album.” He moves into The Chicks’ collab ‘Silent House’ and gives it a mellower touch before jumping into a flurry of tracks. One after the other we get ‘English Trees’, ‘You Are the One to Make Me Cry’ and ‘People Are Like Suns’. ‘Lost Island’, a fan-favourite that didn’t end up on the album, is a great surprise and the listeners all go crazy in the comments. Finn thanks everyone for listening again, meddles with the reverb and then brings the show to a close with the hit ‘Locked Out’ from 1993’s Together Alone.
Tune in to Crowded House: Album by Album on Fangradio every Thursday at 11 AM for Finn’s live broadcast.