Neil Finn's Dizzy Heights
I feel it would be remiss of me to not tell you all that the brand new Neil Finn solo album is amazing. But I've written a review - there it is in the link there - so I don't want to repeat too much of what I said there.
But it was on this page, in this forum, that I called for a Neil Finn solo album a couple of times in fact. One day a few years ago now, I was catching the bus out to one of the suburbs to pick up the car. I was a bit foggy-headed and the stroll down the road to the bus stop was just the ticket to shake the fug. And then a long/ish bus ride. I was listening to One Nil, Neil's second solo album. And that got me to thinking about what I wanted from Neil Finn.
I had quite liked Time On Earth, the first of the Crowded House "reunion" albums, it contained a couple of really great songs on it, a continuation of the sound and feel of some of the tunes on the very good Finn Brothers album, Everyone Is Here.
Neil hadn't released a solo album for over a decade - until Dizzy Heights arrived earlier this week. Before news of it, late last year, I was beginning to wonder if he'd ever release another solo album. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by Intriguer, the second Crowded House "reunion" album.
But you couldn't say that Neil Finn wasn't doing anything in between his solo albums - two Crowded House albums and some tours, a Finn Brothers album and some tours, his Seven Worlds Collide project (fairly lacklustre album there, I thought) and then the Pajama Club project. Pretty good album, that. Never saw the band play but some good tunes on the record - hinting at more to come.
And now we have the next album in Neil Finn's career. His third solo album and quite likely his best; if I'm at all hesitant on that it's only because I loved Try Whistling This at the time and I still have a fondness for most of One Nil, even going on to buy the (slightly re-jigged) American release, One All.
But I'm pretty sure that Dizzy Heights will sit up there with the final album from Crowded House's first phase, Together Alone.
There's a pretty big backlash against the Finns (also the likes of Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan) in this country. Something I've never really understood. I've been very critical of the material from Neil that I haven't liked, but to measure him simply by the fact that you're sick of hearing Better Be Home Soon or Don't Dream It's Over on the radio is to miss out on all the very fine album tracks, the stunningly good live performances, that gift for melody.
It's rare to hear a songwriter with a career the length - and depth - of Neil Finn's actually getting better, and finding new ways to say things, new styles, new songs. He doesn't just write Neil Finn Songs. But clearly, when he does exactly that it's a smart move, no one else seems able to write A Neil Finn Song.
Not the way Neil Finn does it anyway.
I'm just glad to hear the sound of him trying again. And so I thought I'd better mention that here.
Here's my review of Dizzy Heights.
Have you heard it? Will you give it a chance?
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts