Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

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Pajama Club: Golden Child
Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

From the deliberate domesticity of the band name/album title, this album which began as a knockabout home sessions between Neil Finn and his wife Sharon comes with some coy downplaying.

I guess Neil would be aware of the subtext of the words "Linda McCartney".

But here with Neil on drums and guitar, Sharon on bass and SJD on electronica -- and former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr on Can't Put It Down Until It Ends and Go Kart -- even those understandably sceptical would have to concede that mostly this seems something more than a vanity project or a noodle about.

At its best there is something of early Talking Heads shuddering white-funk in these beat-driven songs (These Are Conditions), slinky pop with a glam rock beat (Tell Me What You Want, the guitar distortions of Diamonds in Her Eyes) and weird pop psychedelics like the Barrett-era Pink Floyd (Golden Child).

Daylight is natty sliver of falsetto soul-meets-trippy Crowded House, the rocking knockabout Go Kart has Sharon as leather jacket temptress on an extended metaphor ("you can never go fast enough") and Games We Love to Play is a sonic spook circus of disconcerting beats and ethereal vocals not too far removed from Radiohead.

So if there is a McCartney reference to be made here about the Finns it isn't about Linda but rather Macca when he got edgy, experimental and unrecognisable around McCartney II and with Youth as The Fireman

This might not be the best album outside of his House/Finn imprimatur that Neil Finn makes but nor is it just something from the rehearsal room that has been let slip into the world. Sharon hardly sounds a passenger here either.

Cynics and Finn-deriders will hate it, but then again they were always going to.

It's an "experiment in progress" he says.

Take it like that and it's rather more fun and interesting than forgivable suspicion might allow.

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