Tim Finn

Imaginary Kingdom

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Best known for his work with Split Enz, Crowded House and the Finn Brothers, Tim Finn's nearly 25-year solo career has been overshadowed by his band projects and, to a certain extent, by his brother Neil's international success. Imaginary Kingdom should change all of that. To say that this album is magical is an understatement! Imaginary Kingdom is an atmospheric and joyous collection of beautifully written songs that embrace the listener with warmth and emotional honesty. Piano moves back to centerstage again (it was, for the most part, sadly neglected on his two previous solo releases, Say It Is So and Feeding the Gods) and Finn's vocals are a wonder to behold. When his voice takes flight, as it often does on this release, it becomes an instrument of the angels. It's a stunning thing to experience. His songwriting is stronger and more focused than it's been in years, every song filled with thought-provoking lyrical images and spine-tingling chord changes. Imaginary Kingdom's main strength is how well the songs fit together as a whole. This is not an album to take apart piece by piece, looking for a hit. This is an album that should be heard as a single piece of art. That's not to say that there aren't any possible hits here, though. "Couldn't Be Done," the album's first single and lead track recalls other great Finn album openers like "Hit the Ground Running" and "Fraction Too Much Fiction." "Winter Light," originally released on the soundtrack to The Chronicles of Narnia, is one of the most hauntingly beautiful ballads that Finn has ever written, and his emotional performance is stunning. "Astounding Moon" and the touching "Salt to the Sea" are in a similar musical vein, reaching out and pulling the listener deeper into the album with each listen. "Still the Song" celebrates the inspirational healing of music. "Resting (Your Hands Lightly)," "Midnight Coma" and "Horizon" are pure Finn pop nuggets with melodies sent down from the heavens. Although Imaginary Kingdom is fantastic, it does have its flaws. "Dead Flowers" has a nice Enigma-like groove but the melody doesn't reach out and grab you like the other tracks do. "Unsinkable" does have a great melody but the song doesn't really go anywhere before drifting from view. But honestly, there is no perfect piece of art, and the minor flaws will always add to its undeniable charm. Imaginary Kingdom should shift the spotlight back to Tim Finn as one of the most gifted and extraordinary singer/songwriters of his generation.

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