Review Summary: A Lesson in Pop Rock
Crowded House followed their highly successful pop induced album, Woodface, with the highly acclaimed, but not as successful, Together Alone. The album topped the album chart in New Zealand, reached number 2 in Australia and number 4 in the UK, and ‘Distant Sun’ and ‘Locked Out’ were both fairly successful singles. Together Alone was the bands most experimental and varied album to date, but it still retained the catchy quality that accompanies all of Neil Finn’s work.
From the very first track, ‘Kare Kare’, which is actually named after a beach near were the band recorded the album, it is easy to see that this is not gonna be Woodface. Filled with psychedelic guitar licks, a mellow beat and metaphorical lyrics, a long time fan could be put off from the very beginning. Well until the chorus comes in anyway.
‘In My Command’ is a more typical pop rock song, but the lyrics are really brilliant. Tackling a theme of isolation and abandonment. ‘Nails on My Feet’ is one of the best tracks this band, and Finn in general, has ever recorded. A beautiful ballad, that is descriptive in nature and builds a powerful picture for the listener. The song is a journey, and has no single chorus, but just some repeated verses. The emotion in the lyrics and the music intensity increases throughout the song's run time, until the final relief at the end. Poetry.
‘Locked Out’ is a fun little rock n’ roll number, sounding inspired by the Beatles actually. It’s catchy, has a nice short solo and some decent lyrics that a lot of people can relate too. ‘Black or White Boy’ is a highlight. It seems to be describing someone with bipolar disorder, with once again descriptive but open ended lyrics. Hell it could be about Neil’s dog too. It’s a fairly heavy song, by Crowded House standards I mean not Metallica, with a nice little guitar riff. The chorus is good, although not as approachable as some other songs. ‘Skin Feeling’ is a similar rock track, although not quite as good.
‘Distant Sun’ is the most accessible song on the album, after ‘Locked Out’. An acoustic ballad with a soaring chorus and an emotional vocal performance, it’s your typical radio ballad…but you know just better. ‘Private Universe’ is the longest song on the album, and an epic by every stretch of the imagination. It’s an atmospheric song that again uses an acoustic guitar and also a lot of special effects. The lyrics are good, and the chorus is pretty sweet too. The outro of the song is also a great instrumental piece. ‘Walking on the Spot’ is a short catchy pop song that also would have fit in perfectly on Woodface.
Together Alone would prove to be Crowded House last album for 15 years, as the band soon split up.