Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crowded House


Everyone I knew had this album.  Including me.  In fact, we've broken a rule by buying it recently, as I do have it on vinyl.  But it's so great to go back to this first album, that wavers between the familiar sounds of Split Enz and the broader, poppier strokes that would, in the end, make this band large on the world stage.

It's often puzzled me - what weas it that made Crowded house so much more successful than SplitEnz?  Apart from ditching the costumes, the songs to some degree are still flavoured with a similar sound.  But from this moment on, it seemed the younger Finn could do no wrong.  In fact, they became so successful they were offered the ultimate accolade by Australian audiences - we claimed them as our own, despite the fact they were only two-thirds Aussie.  (Or occasionally half Aussie when brother Tim joined in). 

This album is still as beautiful to me today as it was the first time I dropped the needle on to the vinyl, and I defy anyone to hate it.


Where do you start with such a band as Crowded House?  Maybe I should start by saying while I appreciate the song writing and the musicianship, I've never been a big fan of the band.  Simply, they were too pop for my liking and probably a bit too nice as well.  At the time this, their debut, was released, I was more interested in dirty, sweaty rock.  But listening now, it is hard not to be caught up in the infectiousness of these ten great songs.

While the singles Don't Dream It's Over, Something So Strong, World Where You Live and Now We're Getting Somewhere have become classics in their own right, it is the less popular album tracks like Love You 'Til The Day I Die and Can't Carry On, which appeal to me.  These are a bit darker and closer in sound to Neil Finn and Paul Hester's previous band, the mighty Split Enz.  And while it still isn't enough for me to call myself a fan, I do have a better appreciation of the band now and certainly won't turn up my nose like I used to do.


For more information go to http://www.crowdedhouse.com/


  1. I dig these guys. I have a live bootleg (London, 1994) that really makes me wish I'd seen them live when they were at their creative peaks. There's a great energy and a strong rapport between the band and their audience. There was one security guard whom Neil targeted. He mentioned it was his goal for the evening to get the rather stoic gent to crack a smile.

  2. I'm a bit ambivalent when it comes to Crowded House. Some stuff I like unresevedly ('Don't Dream it's Over' is magical) and I think Neil Finn is a top notch songwriter but nagging at the back of my brain is a sympathy for Tim. Neil effectively ruined Split Enz, who were, before his ascendency, a really interesting, left-field oufit. 'Mental Notes' (the UK re-record of 'Second Thouights' I think) is one of my all-time fav albums. The Finn/Judd material is just stunning. Such a shame that Neil didn't form Crowded House immediately and leave Tim to plough his more off-kilter furrow, rather than dragging the Enz into the mainstream. But maybe that's just me?

  3. Perplexio - if you get a chance, grab the DVD of their Farewell To The World concert on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. One of my friends was in the audience, and says it's the best concert she's ever been to.

    MO - yes, there's sympathy for Tim from me too. But I guess Split Enz got Neil out NZ and on to the international stage. As we mentioned, there's certainly echoes of the Enz on this album. And given Tim toured with the Crowdies for a while, I think there was some give and take there.