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Crowded House - Time On Earth

Crowded House, Time On Earth

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

2007 is the year of the comeback. We’ve already had the likes of Genesis, Smashing Pumpkins and James reforming in some way or form – and they’ve mostly all been worthwhile.

So what of Crowded House? Well, the band’s first album in 14 years is a welcome return to form that provides a telling reminder of why Neil Finn remains such an influential songwriter.

Much like the recent Smashing Pumpkins revival, Time On Earth isn’t exactly Crowded House per se. Having lost drummer Paul Hester to suicide in 2005, the revived line-up is now comprised of bass player Nick Seymour, multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart (who performed on the band’s last two albums) and drummer Matt Sherrod (a veteran of Beck).

But fears this may tinker with the sound of the band are thankfully misplaced. For certain, the comeback has played things safe. There’s nothing edgy or particularly different.

Songs are mostly delivered in a mid-tempo style and hark back to the endearing qualities that made past classics such as Don’t Dream Its Over and Weather With You so popular.

But there’s an easy accessibility to them that makes the album an instantly pleasing listen. And you kind of know you’re going to like it from the very first offering.

Nobody Wants To opens with a heartfelt piece of guitar and a laidback melody that paves the way for a warm, welcoming vocal from Finn. By the time it reaches the soothing chorus (complete with melancholy undertones that seem to reflect the hurt felt by Hetser’s loss) you’ll be swaying along in tandem with it.

Former single Don’t Stop Now then brings a welcome note of familiarity – again built around endearing hooks and a feel-good chorus. It’s an easy track to sing along to and therein lies part of Finn’s songwriting ability.

Things get ever more upbeat with the hammond-laced She Called Up, which really sounds like a throwback to Crowded House’s glory days, while Say That Again wraps you up in its easygoing style.

There’s a very John Lennon quality to the piano-drenched Pour Le Monde, before fans could be forgiven for thinking the album has borrowed from REM on the opening moments of upbeat rocker Even A Child. Both songs maintain the high standards of the album though.

And further highlights come from the melancholy Silent House, a really pensive offering, English Trees, with its strong guitar chords, and the excellent Transit Lounge, which includes a beautifully ethereal contribution from Beth Rowley.

All in all, Time On Earth marks an extremely welcome return from one of the classiest acts around. And that’s not the first time I’ve had that sentiment this year…

Download picks: Nobody Wants To, Don’t Stop Now, She Called Up, Say That Again, Transit Lounge, Even A Child, Pour Le Monde

Track listing:

  1. Nobody Wants To
  2. Don’t Stop Now
  3. She Called Up
  4. Say That Again
  5. Pour Le Monde
  6. Even A Child
  7. Heaven That I’m Making
  8. A Sigh
  9. Silent House
  10. English Trees
  11. Walked Her Way Down
  12. Transit Lounge
  13. You Are The One To Make Me Cry
  14. People Are Like Suns