Liam Finn – FOMO

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Liam Finn, the son of Split Enz/Crowded House’s Neil Finn, released his solo debut album in 2008, an energetic (almost frenzied at times), beautifully crafted and extremely tuneful work in which he played almost all instruments.  Given several years to follow this up, one wonders if there would be a sophomore slump (discounting his underwhelming 2009 joint EP with Eliza Jane). 

There’s good news all around.  Again, he plays almost every instrument, his pop sensibilities remain intact, he hasn’t run from the specter of sounding like his father (listen to “Real Late” and “Chase the Seasons”), and while including a diverse mix of songs, he doesn’t run quite as far to the extremes as on his debut.

The CD starts off with the fairly restrained keyboard driven “Neurotic World,” in which he sings in a lower-than-usual register, immediately laden with instrumental embellishments that dance around a catching melody.  

Change the beat, vary the topic, add self-accompanying Beatles-ish harmonies, and each song plays to his strengths.  This is about as accessible as “indie-music” can get, yet altogether unlikely to find any mainstream radio interest.  If you’ve listened to the radio, that’s praise for this CD.  And lest anyone should think this is dull, plaintive pop, Finn remains very unconventional in the shifts within the songs – pushing a rock edge, an experimental flourish, or following a different track because his voice allows him the flexibility. 

Overall, I’ll play much of this CD for a season.  Not everything works to my ears (“Roll of the Eye,” “Jump Your Bones”) but everything is so well put together that I’ll look forward to his future releases.  Something truly special will one day come from this artist. 

For the high praise, the 3 star rating may seem rather flat.  However, I’m subtracting a half star for including a CD booklet that doesn’t include lyrics.  Kids these days…

Recommended Songs: “Neurotic World,” “Don’t Even Know Your Name,” “Cold Feet,” “Real Late”

3 of 5 STARS

 

 

Close your eyes and listen – the video is lame.  This is the most straightforward of the songs on the CD.

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