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Time On Earth
Frontman Neil Finn is reluctant to engage in the arena-pleasing jinks with which Crowded House made their reputation – anyone hoping for another ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ is going to find Time On Earth a disappointment.
Ed Power, 02 Jul 2007
Nobody truly missed Crowded House during their 11-year hiatus, but now they’re back the consensus seems to be that their return is a good thing. Curiously, the only person who doesn’t appear quite sure of this is frontman Neil Finn.
On Time On Earth, the band’s first album since 1993’s Together Alone, Finn waxes diffident: his songs are soporific, muted creations, ebbing and bobbing on a tide of gentle guitar and half-crooned/half whispered vocals. Certainly, he is reluctant to engage in the arena-pleasing jinks with which Crowded House made their reputation – anyone hoping for another ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ is going to find Time On Earth a disappointment.
Not that the record isn’t without its moments: opener ‘Nobody Wants To’ is a sweetly pensive ballad, a song so restrained you only really notice its reach when it ends. Later, Finn tires of the conventional idea of how a Crowded House LP should sound: ‘English Trees’ features a warbling Celtic backing singer; ‘A Sigh’ sees Finn softly emoting over an ambient beat. Towards the end he attempts, belatedly, to cast off the ennui: ‘You Are The Only One To Make Me Cry’ and ‘People Are Like Suns’ demonstrate that Finn’s suggested knack for a hummable melody remains intact.
Understatement isn’t a crime of course, even if you are the bloke who wrote ‘Weather With You’. You just hope Crowded House fans feels likewise.