Words by guest writer, Marty Duda.
They say timing is everything…so what better time to have a new Crowded House album than right now. So, as the planet tries to shake itself out of the pandemic, what we need is music that heals.
From the very first notes of opening track, ‘Bad Times Good’, you’ll feel a wave of warmth as the band lays down a reassuring groove…“everybody wants to make a bad time good”, croons Neil Finn.
Yes we do.
These days Crowded House consists of original members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour who are aided and abetted by Liam and Elroy Finn (Neil’s sons) and Mitchell Froom, who produced the first three Crowded House albums, way back when, and is now on board as their keyboard player.
It’s something of a family affair, and it feels that way. Sharon Finn shows up to sing some background vocals as does Liam’s significant other Eliza-Jane Barnes, and Tim Finn co-writes one tune with brother Neil.
The timing was almost too late as sessions took place in Los Angeles early last year. The basic tracks were laid down live, but then COVID hit and the band members dispersed. Fortunately overdubs were able to be done in isolation.
With that in mind, it’s tempting to think of this album as something downbeat and reflective. And while that may be true during a tune or two (Liam’s ‘Show Me The Way’ is dark and moody…it’s also his best composition to date).
Of course the “voice” of Crowded House is still Neil Finn and he sounds like his time with Fleetwood Mac has been good for him, especially when he is surrounded by lush harmonies as you’ll hear on ‘Start Of Something’ and ‘Show Me The Way’.
The band knows when to lay back and when to strike out. Check out the inventive electronic flourishes that sweeten ‘Sweet Tooth’ — a tune that almost feels like a sequel to Woodface’s ‘Chocolate Cake’.
Liam’s guitar get fuzzy on ‘Whatever You Want’ along with some nifty percussion from Elroy.
But, this is very much a band album. As anyone who saw them when they toured New Zealand knows, these five musicians can play and sing as well as they want to.
And when the songwriting is as strong as Neil’s bittersweet ‘Real Life Woman’ or Liam’s ‘Show Me The Way,’ well, who can doubt that we are all on a healing journey.
“Let’s all be quiet, the next generation’s talking” is a line from Playing With Fire…a full-band composition. It seems with Dreamers Are Waiting, both generations of Finns have plenty to say.