Crowded House
Intriguer


4.0
excellent

Review

by AtavanHalen USER (181 Reviews)
July 11th, 2010 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "In the course of history, it all makes sense to me somehow..."

Unlike Time on Earth, the 2007 "reunion" album for Crowded House which came from what was intended to be a Neil Finn solo record, Intriguer is a complete recording. It's a vision, if you will, of Crowded House circa 2010 - Finn, original bassist Nick Seymour, long-serving session/touring musician Mick Hart and drummer Matt Sherrod. Perhaps it's for this very reason that Intriguer - by definition, one who intrigues - feels like such a complete experience. A documentation of a revitalised and invigorated household name, Finn and co. have put their name to what is potentially the finest work under the band's title since 1991's Woodface. It's an album that's freewheeling, wide-eyed and continually fascinating in its approach to the standard pop-rock affair - one who intrigues, indeed.

The elements of the music that Crowded House are both reaffirmed and redefined, depending entirely on which perspective you take. Finn's evergreen way with words and the gently harmonious voice that accentuates said way remain at the centre of the music, weaving tales of everything from European daytrips ("Amsterdam") to extended-metaphor elephants ("Elephants", no surprises there). The band, however, are thankfully not trying to replicate the sound of their past that brought them to stardom in the eighties and early nineties, as so many recently-reunited bands have been suspect to doing. And really, when the songs - both individually and as a collective - are as good as they are on Intriguer, why would you bother"

The album is quick to point out that even though Crowded House is still Finn's baby, he's quite comfortable to be handing it around the room. This is, for the first time in many years, a cohesive and altogether Crowded House sound. Perhaps nothing greater defines this than "Saturday Sun", the track which opens Intriguer and highlights every strength of the new Crowded House. Finn is up-front, experimenting to great effect with a vocoder, while Seymour's fuzz-bass locks into a pounding Matt Sherrod rhythm and Hart's warm, translucent keys flutter amongst the structure. It's a dynamic reintroduction to the band - a reaffirmation of their great songwriting and a redefinition of what constitutes the sound of their hits.

The songs of Intriguer are mixed in emotion, yet equal in their powers of conveyance. The morose and longing "Isolation", featuring guest vocals from Neil's wife Sharon and extra guitar from their son Liam, is masterful in its downtempo sways and dense emotive prose: "Though I try/To find a sign of another life/I am alone". At the opposite end of the emotive spectrum is the delightful "Either Side of the World". The song creates a gorgeous atmosphere, as rolls of percussion are tucked beneath the tinkering of a grand piano and breathy vocal harmonies that assist the song into its soaring release of endorphins. Perhaps its greatest asset, however, is in its playful deceit when listened to for the first time - just as the song appears to end in a wave of keyboard ambience, Hart's piano reappears and the song returns for an even more joyous rendition than before.

Not only is "Either Side" a standout moment of Intriguer, it cements both Hart and Sherrod's roles in the band; with both providing the strongest elements of the song. These two aren't just ring-ins anymore - they are part of the family now. It's this togetherness that make the bold "Archer's Arrows" and the charmingly lucid "Amsterdam" such easily-digestible and effortlessly smooth listening experiences. The latter prides itself on a practical infestation of vocal hooks as Seymour's slinking basslines explore the song's structural maze, while the latter is the closest we'll probably ever get to the band's vintage balladry from the easy-going territory; all pitch-perfect harmonies and studio-reverb pleasantry.

Perhaps the fortune that a record such as Intriguer exists can be summed up with the lyrics of the upbeat "Twice If You're Lucky". "These are the times that only come once in your life," sings a spritely Finn, "or twice if you're lucky." Consider us Crowdies fans incredibly lucky, then - the band has been given a new lease of life, and it's increasingly evident with every listen to Intriguer that they are not taking it for granted. Don't dream it's over - Intriguer is a dream come true.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
taylormemer (4)
An experience to be had, Crowded House releases yet another work that epitomises their excellence....



Comments:Add a Comment 
taylormemer
July 11th 2010


4962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, well done. I'll wait for yours to drop off before I submit mine. But, before I do I shall not read. k.

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You reviewed it too? What did you think?

taylormemer
July 11th 2010


4962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fantastic.

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yay! Well plz to let me know what you think of the review, man. Input is always appreesh.

taylormemer
July 11th 2010


4962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will do, still not finished with mine, so I'll let you know soon.

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers babe luff you lwng tym

Bitchfork
July 11th 2010


7584 Comments


Unlike Time on Earth, the 2007 "reunion" album for Crowded House which came from what was intended to be a Neil Finn solo record,

a comma after House?

Douglas
July 11th 2010


9283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the Crowded House, so I am glad this is getting positive reviews, I haven't listened yet though. Lovely write up.

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Jiminy Cricket



Nah B4k, that'd be too many commas

Vooligan
July 11th 2010


3541 Comments


I should get this. Great review, man.

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aww fanks Betty! Definitely check it out.

Vooligan
July 11th 2010


3541 Comments


No wuz. I do love me some Crowded House.

Spare
July 11th 2010


5567 Comments


woah didn't even know this existed

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just came out last month, mate.

Dryden
July 11th 2010


13553 Comments


ya mate

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sup Dryd

Dryden
July 11th 2010


13553 Comments


nm bro u

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Listening to Frank Turner, man. Life's good.

sspedding
July 11th 2010


5229 Comments


is this anything like their old stuff? (i havent read the review yet)

AtavanHalen
July 11th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not particularly, but that's why it's so good.



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