My friend John Dunbar and I have been e-mail volleying on a weekly basis for years now. Occasionally the subject is one particular record, like a few years back when Jules Shear released "More." We discussed the release for a series of paragraphs until I eventually posted the conversation. It seemed like a clever way of reviewing the record.
The two of us were at it again, though more concise, over one of our faves, Neil Finn and his just released "Dizzy Heights."
I just finished listening to Dizzy Heights (not the Lightning Seeds album). Neil Finn is one of those artists whose new work never hits me the first time out of the gate. (Except for "Everyone Is Here." That grabbed immediately and still hasn't let go.) But as I get to learn his records, I end up really loving them. I have a strong feeling that's going to be the case here yet again. I'm not blown away, but will be eventually I'd bet. I avoided hearing the songs that were released ahead of time. I wanted to experience the album as a whole.
I still am, and will always be, an album guy.
I appreciate him attempting new sonic areas. It doesn't sound like any of his previous releases. (Perhaps a pinch of Pajama Club?) His last two releases have made your year end top ten list- Pajama Club and the Paul Kelly live album- I wonder if in 10 months the streak will continue.
In preparation I went back and listened to Crowded House's "Time On Earth" after you said it sounded better than you remembered. I agree. It sounded fresh.
I look forward to hearing your take on this.
Also just listened without an earlier preview. Vinyl came on time, for a change, and it had a download for the bonus track. I loved it on first pass. Interesting how I have now gotten used to the fact that Neil's poppier days are behind him. First takes on the releases you mention, ""Time On Earth" and "Pajama Party" were not so pleasing, but I stayed with them and now love them. I went into "Dizzy Heights" expecting the same as those records and not the Split Enz/Crowded House "I Got You"/"Something So Strong"-type singles and it worked right off the bat. Fantastic production and some really great melodies.
I felt like I wanted to put it right back on after it finished.
I'm sure I'll get there in no time. I also understand he's no longer writing songs like he used to, but I wonder if he's so concerned with being an artiste that he purposely avoids the killer hooks. I look forward to falling for the album, which is inevitable.
I hear hooks. Maybe not so obviously as his earlier days, but I don't mind that at all. There seems to be a lot more going on here than on the first two Crowded House records, which as much as I love them, honestly haven't aged as well as Neil's first two solo records.
I think "Dizzy Heights" is really strong and I think you're going to feel that in no time.