Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published June 7th 2021
They're back and they're still good
All right, who had a new Crowded House album on their 2021 Bingo Cards? When I heard about this, I was stunned. I thought that while the remaining members would do stuff together, with Neil Finn touring with Fleetwood Mac and making albums with his family, a new Crowded House album was just not anything we were going to see.
But, lo and behold… Dreamers Are Waiting by Crowded House (2021)
Well… first, and this is important, if you are expecting something akin to their first few albums, you will be disappointed. This is closer to the album Neil and Liam Finn made together (Light Sleeper). In fact, Liam Finn seems to have joined the band as a multi-instrumentalist and one of the song-writers, and Elroy Finn (Liam's younger brother) has replaced the late Paul Hester on drums… and Sharon Finn (Neil's wife) does backing vocals at times and Tim Finn (Neil's brother) gets a song-writing credit. How does Nick Seymour, Crowded House's bass player since the year 1984, feel about this? Of course, newish member Mitchell Froom (he has produced some of their stuff before) is also not a family member…
So, what is the album like? Look… it's great. I bought it digitally and have read some interviews, discovering it was recorded during the 2020 lockdown period and is their first album of new material since 2010. Was it worth the wait? Let's not beat about the bush: Yes, it was. Now, it does go without saying that Neil Finn's lyrics are superb and the musicianship is wonderful, but this is such a good album.
And here it is, track by track.
'Bad Times Good' Surely I'm not the only one who got a '(Don't Fear) the Reaper' vibe from this track? A pleasant, slightly laid back track with that classic rock feel about it, and a wonderful way to start the album.
'Playing With Fire' This is an upbeat sounding song with some nice brass flourishes and 1960s choral arrangements. It has such a celebratory feel about it with a stunning outro. My favourite track on the album.
'To The Island' A song about how wonderful New Zealand is, especially during the recent global pandemic. It has a different feel about it with the drums at the fore and a subdued vocal, and a nice guitar outro.
'Sweet Tooth' This is one of those songs that's hard to classify, a spiritual successor to their hit 'Chocolate Cake', and different and weird enough to stand out in a good way.
'Whatever You Want' Despite the up-tempo music, this is a song railing against people in charge who "tell you whatever you want", and is another really strong one.
'Show Me The Way' Slow down for a dreamy song that would not have been out of place in The Beatles' catalogue, circa Abbey Road. This album just stuns one track after another.
'Goodnight Everyone' This follows on from the last track, but lacks a certain something, feeling a little like filler. It is a nice song, but amongst the other music here, it is one of the lesser songs.
'Too Good For This World' This follows on as well, but there is something about this track that lifts it up – maybe the background instrumentation and Neil's voice, still amazing after all these years. Still, I liked this one.
'Start Of Something' The harmonies of the voice and the guitar playing make this song. The back end of the album is quite a deal slower than the opening.
'Real Life Woman' This song possibly feels closest to the Crowded House sound of all those years ago. The lyrics also leave you wondering who the person being addressed is. I have read two theories, but… it doesn't matter. That's one of the joys of this track.
'Love Isn't Hard At All' The tempo kicks back up on the back of a nice drum shuffle and some close harmonies. This is another strong song, even if the lyrics are a little basic.
'Deeper Down' And we finish with another dream-like song with the vocals so strong and the note of positivity in the lyrics. Good closer.
So… welcome back, Crowded House! I didn't know I needed a new Crowded House album until I heard this. The music made here is superb. There is just a feel about the whole thing that is relaxed and comfortable.
This is a great album and it does not need me to tell everyone how great it is. Crowded House are regarded as one of the premier music acts Australia/New Zealand have produced, and now, in 2021, they have shown once again why that is the case.
Picture taken from Twitter @CrowdedHouseHQ May 6, 2021