Crowded House


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With the heavy lifting of the Crowded House reunion out of the way, Neil Finn is able to settle into comfortable craft on Intriguer, the band’s sixth album. Intriguer isn’t as self-consciously weighty as Time on Earth -- Finn is not tackling mortality in the wake of the death of his longtime friend and bandmate Paul Hester -- but it’s also not as hazy as Finn’s pair of solo LPs. In tone and timbre, it’s closest to the second Finn Brothers album, the ruminative Everyone Is Here, but it lacks the reflective undertow of that 2004 album; it may be subdued, but it’s not reveling in its melancholy, it’s riding a gentle wave, swaying from song to song. Sometimes the tempo gets slightly heated -- “Inside Out” works a nicely grinding guitar riff, “Saturday Sun” pulsates to an electronic rhythm -- but the album doesn’t command attention so much as it teases it. This light touch suits Finn’s songs; he’s favoring subtle craftsmanship over immediate hooks, so it only fits that the mood of Intriguer is soothing, something that pays off great dividends upon close listens. It may not be flashy but it’s sturdy and expertly honed, reflecting Finn’s craftsmanship on a song-by-song basis but holding together better as an album than any Finn project in recent memory.

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