Liam Finn / Neil Finn

Lightsleeper

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AllMusic Review by

The Finn family has a history of playing together, so it's not a surprise that Neil teamed up with his son Liam for a collaborative album. What may be surprising about Lightsleeper is how the father lets the son take the lead. Neil's signature melodic flair isn't absent, but it is obscured underneath layers of shambling guitars, supple strings, echoing keyboards, and rhythms that are used as texture as much as groove. All of these elements can be heard on some latter-day Neil records but are certainly signatures of Liam Finn, who spent much of 2014's The Nihilist exploring this territory. In comparison, Lightsleeper is warmer and sweeter, a reflection of both collaboration and a family vibe, and while the coziness is comforting, it's also a shade hazy. Despite a handful of sharply executed songs, such as the de facto Prince tribute "Where's My Room" and the similarly funky "Ghosts," Lightsleeper never quite coalesces. Instead, it drifts, floating from point to point, thought to thought, offering some memorable sounds along the way but never quite coming into focus.

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