Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Many, many years ago Neil Finn told me
he believed bands, and he was referring to Split Enz at the time, had
a natural lifespan.
Some years after that – in 2001 when
he was well into a solo career with the album One Nil – I
asked him the question again, and specifically if he felt that about
His answer was the same. Yes, bands did
have a natural lifespan – but then he qualified it.
“We didn't have maybe as long as I
would have liked with Crowded House.”
Despite that massive farewell concert
on the steps of the Sydney Opera House in November '96, his work with
brother Tim and subsequent solo career with Try Whistling This
and One Nil, there still seemed unfinished business with
Crowded House, a band that was often bigger globally than many New
I saw them play to huge and
enthusiastic crowds in New York and London, heard their songs (and
not just Don't Dream It's Over) on radio in Germany, Japan and
in an airport in Korea, and of course all over Australia.
So despite the sad death of Crowdies
drummer Paul Hester five years ago, Neil's work with Tim on Everyone
Is Here in '04, with Seven Worlds Collide and numerous
other projects, the idea of Crowded House remained. People wanted it
too. Chris Bourke was still steadily copies of his band biography
Something So Strong even when the group had gone.
But then they returned (with original
member Nick Seymour, longtime band member Mark Hart and new drummer
Matt Sherrod) in 2007 with the Time on Earth album which
topped the Australian charts and went to number three here.
Clearly the people missed Crowded House
as much as Neil did.
And now the Crowdies – the same
line-up again – are back with Intriguer, an album shot
through with Finn's distinctive and memorable melodies, some swirling
psychedelic touches, aching ballads and driving rhythms.
Of the album Neil says, “it may just
be the best thing we've done . . . til the next one”.
This sounds to me like a band ready to
enjoy that rarity in rock, a second lifespan.
Will anyone else note that line in Archer's Arrows: “We live to fight another day”?