The Crowded House siblings back together for the first time in nine years
We always refused to think it was over, and indeed it wasn’t?even if not quite everyone is here. The first fraternal recording from the Finns in nine years isn’t quite a Crowded House reunion, as there’s no Nick Seymour or Paul Hester. But with producer Mitchell Froom back in the saddle for the first time since 1991’s sainted Woodface album, it’s as near as dammit.
Recorded in Los Angeles at leisure (unlike 1995’s Finn, which was squeezed in between the final Crowded House sessions and solo projects, and was done and dusted inside four weeks), Everyone Is Here represents a masterclass in mature songcraft. Lyrically, the mood is reflective, concerning lessons learnt and experiences endured, with more than a whiff of nostalgia. It’s typified by “Disembodied Voices”, which finds Tim poignantly recalling his New Zealand childhood with Neil, “talking with my brother 40 years ago”.
Melodically, they’re still in thrall to their classic ’60s pop influences, although they’ve come up with more winning hooks than the likes of McGuinn and McCartney have managed in years. Not that this is totally obvious on first hearing, which suggests a collection of tunes that are pleasant rather than memorable. But the melodies are insidious: by the third or fourth play, the likes of “Won’t Give In”, “Nothing Wrong With You”and “A Life Between Us”have buried themselves deep in your brain, while Tony Visconti’s sumptuous string arrangements on “Homesick”and the utterly lovely “Edible Flowers”also find the sweet spot.
Despite the air of contemplation, there’s plenty of energy, and when backed by such in-demand LA sessioneers as Jon Brion and drummer Matt Chamberlain on cultured but upbeat tracks like “Anything Can Happen”and “All God’s Children”, they almost sound like a rock’n’ roll band. If you ever had to find someone to write a song to save your life, Neil Finn would still be pretty near the top of the list. No worries, mate.