Crowded House, 'Intriguer' (Fantasy)

Critical Mass
Label: Fantasy

by Barry Walters

Like Paul McCartney, Crowded House leader Neil Finn possesses a massive melodic gift, but no longer seems interested in writing anthems (à la "Don't Dream It's Over"). That's okay when the results feel as intimate as they do here, where old friendships complement low-key tunes with intricate textures and an empathetic swing that's only intermittently propulsive. In a McCartney-esque maneuver, Finn features his wife Sharon on co-lead vocals for the album's centerpiece and highlight, "Isolation"; the eerie, unguarded results suggest Wings stripped of silliness.



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