Recurring Dream: The Very Best Of

Crowded House

Capitol, 1996

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


[Adapted from a review originally appearing in On The Town magazine on August 20, 1996]

"I want you to know... that the world is a tangled-up necklace of pearls," sings Neil Finn, songwriter/vocalist/co-producer/mastermind of Crowded House, and you have to marvel equally at the beautiful precision of the image and the self-assured earnestness of the voice casting it before your ears. Here is an artist worthy of the term.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For a band of New Zealanders, the House-mates (Finn, Nick Seymour on bass and Paul Hester on drums, with an assist in the later going from Neil’s brother Tim) come off very British in their sophisticated melancholy on numbers like the dreamy "Don't Dream It's Over" (their biggest hit) and the solemn "Four Seasons In One Day." The Beatlesque, radio-friendly harmonies they like to layer on only increase this impression, even as their fearless experimentation with exotic instrumentation and quirky guitar tunings offer the listener a dizzying array of sonic angles and textures underneath. In that sense, the unabashedly poppy melody of singles like "Something So Strong" only makes the swirling worldbeat passion of "Private Universe" that much more remarkable.

Whether by plan or by a gentle irony befitting the progenitors of tunes like "Weather With You" and "It's Only Natural," Crowded House issued this "best of" album—complete with three typically sharp and interesting new songs—and promptly dissolved for more than a decade, before eventually reforming in 2006. As of 2014, the band is two studio albums into its second coming and it seems clear Neil Finn's well of inspiration is far from dry. Keep watching and listening, because the next pearls he tangles up could be the best ones yet.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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