Crowded House
Gravity Stairs


3.9
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
June 5th, 2024 | 15 replies


Release Date: 05/31/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: still so young to travel so far, old enough to know who you are

"Every child is a mystic having visions of a new dawn" is the first thing anybody heard from Crowded House's eighth album, Gravity Stairs. It's the opening salvo of "Oh Hi", a breezily moving first single influenced by singer/songwriter/wholesome dad Neil Finn's work with charity So They Can, helping children in Kenya and Tanzania by building schools. It's the only appropriate way to introduce an album both by, and about, several generations of this insanely talented family of polymaths and their lifelong friends making great music together. With sons Liam and Elroy Finn (on guitar and drums, respectively) stepping up their songwriting in both frequency and quality, while Crowded House veterans Nick Seymour and Mitchell Froom fill in the gaps with thoughtful textures and grooves, this is a family project in every sense. It may be the cosiest album about being in a family since Neil and brother Tim put out an album about good it is having brothers, 2004's superb Everyone is Here.

Despite what the more lightweight singles suggested, Gravity Stairs takes stranger detours than its more back-to-basics predecessor Dreamers Are Waiting. Bookends "Magic Piano" and "Night Song" are amorphous, slippery tunes that shed their skins constantly, by far the weirdest Crowded House songs since the final album of its original incarnation, 1993's psychedelic, tribal, occasionally very horny Together Alone. The dream pop leanings the band has occasionally locked into, most recently on "Love Isn't Hard at All", are excavated again to stunning success on "The Howl", Liam Finn's best writing effort to date. A mid-album break is once again devoted to an acoustic-tinged collaboration with former Split End Tim Finn, a full collaborator on the high watermark Woodface who since has become something of a ghostly harmony on each album's strangest track, a tradition that dates back to Neil's meditative Out of Silence LP in 2015. But this is also an album coming from a Neil Finn rejuvenated after a two-year stint touring with Fleetwood Mac in lieu of Lindsey Buckingham, and that rocking energy comes through on the likes of "Blurry Grass", driven by a bluesy riff that could be from a lost Powderfinger song in their prime, and the unbelievably sweet "All That I Can Ever Own", written of course about the drive home from the hospital with a newborn child in the backseat.

Even if it's not taking Woodface down in anybody's estimations (a distinction that it shares with pretty much every album that's come out since Woodface), Gravity Stairs is the ideal vision of a band of pop's elder statesmen aging gracefully. There's no shameless chart-chasing or transparent attempts to capture the sound of yesterday here, which we can ascribe to the remarkable fact that something about the Finns' music simply sounds timeless, no matter which sound they're exploring or name they're releasing it under. This eighth variation of Crowded House finds them sedate but thoughtful, gently probing the edges of their familiar sound rather than blowing the roof off it, and that's perfectly suited to the easygoing energy they have together. It's a comfort that can't be manufactured or faked, one which comes from bandmembers truly tied together with the bonds of blood, whether the familial type or the one shed with sweat and tears in 40+ years on the road with one another.



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user ratings (10)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2024


47786 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

200th review wew boy. 'alright grandpa let's get you to bed' memes go here [ ]



great interviews about this which I shamelessly trawled for tidbits here: https://variety.com/2024/music/news/crowded-house-neil-finn-gravity-stairs-album-tour-interview-1236021746/



https://themusic.com.au/features/crowded-house-gravity-stairs-album-australian-tour-interview/XMziTnFwc3I/31-05-24

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2024


10829 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Skimmed the text hastily, great review.

Will read properly, later today.



Edit:

Read with full attention, great review [2]

I'm hardly a seasoned listener of the band, but this album as a whole, has taken a lot from the singles of Crowded House's signature LP Woodface.

Dwap
June 5th 2024


403 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a great album.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2024


3069 Comments


Blessed content row, congrats on those numbers! Must listen soon

Kopkiwi
June 5th 2024


75 Comments


Another banger from NEW ZEALAND royalty.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2024


47786 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

you can have em over Melbourne's COLD DEAD BODY

BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
June 7th 2024


1073 Comments


Great review Rowan. Love a bit of Crowded House, caught them in Glasgow in 2022. Looking forward to checking this.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2024


47786 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

ah ty! prices aren't cheap but I'm very tempted to see em in Melbourne this year, it's the week before my birthday. heard they're killer live

Pheromone
June 8th 2024


21490 Comments


hey it's row row the crowded house fan

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2024


10829 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hear a lot of Tom Petty on "The Howl"

bellovddd
June 11th 2024


6594 Comments


WOW no idea this was happening

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2024


47786 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

pheromone more like pheroMOAN am i right fellas

zakalwe
June 11th 2024


39505 Comments


I’m going to get stuck into this. I thought the last one they did was decent.

DoofDoof
June 11th 2024


15477 Comments


Tempted to make Crowded House my 'legacy act deep dive' for July, never been impressed before but they have a very meaty back catalogue it seems...should get to know if any of their stuff tickles me

zakalwe
June 11th 2024


39505 Comments


They have one of the very best, best ofs

Was in my car for a couple of years



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