Sunday, November 30, 2008

TIM FINN-"The Conversation" Review

TIM FINN-"The Conversation" Review

For nearly 30 years, Tim Finn has been my second favorite vocalist of all time...just a few notches down from Elvis Presley. Hell, I skipped my high school senior prom in '82 just to go see Tim's old band, Split Enz, perform at the Hollywood Palladium (ah, the memories!). So, for me, a new Tim Finn album is always a call for celebration. While I've loved most of his solo work, it's really hard to compare it to the collaborative essence of Split Enz, so I never do. I don't even bother judging it against his other projects like Crowded House, the Finn Brothers or ALT. I look at each album as it's own entity and accept it for what it is: a Tim Finn solo album.

So, with that being said, I was floored by his 2006 effort, Imaginary Kingdom. I felt that IK was even better than his solo debut, Escapade, which I didn't think he'd ever top. This is not to say that his other solo releases haven't been good. I think that a listener attaches themselves to a certain record like an old barnacle and hangs on for dear life. When I heard Imaginary Kingdom, I felt that he had released his best solo work to date and I had found a new home to lay my weary head.

The Conversation, his 2008 release, has found me packing my bags and moving to a new resting spot: Finn has taken the best elements of his songwriting skills, scaled back the production and presented an album so rich with melody that no economic crisis could penetrate this wealthy platter of song. This is by far the best album of the year...and that's no easy feat since 2008 has had some really great releases. It's also the best album in his 25 year solo journey.

The album is warm, comforting and personal but while Tim sings of HIS life, it can often mirror the feelings and thoughts of the listener, creating a virtual 'conversation' between the performer and the audience. While the album's title refers to the interaction of the different musicians playing together, it becomes much more than that when experienced in the comfort of your own home. Former Enz members Miles Golding (violin) and Eddie Rayner (piano) join Tim on this journey and their familiarity with Tim's music allows them to add a personal flavor to this rich stew of haunting melodies. Tim's voice is superb throughout, sounding like a man who has found peace in who he is and is comfortable in his own skin. While 'Out Of This World' is the lead single, there are many other inviting moments that will reach out to anyone looking for a singer/songwriter who offers more than just a new face in an overcrowded market: 'Rear View Mirror', 'The Saw And The Tree', 'Forever Thursday' (which could be a distant cousin of his classic 'Through The Years'), 'Straw To Gold' and more. On the first spin of the album, you'll find some magical moments but the album truly reveals itself with each additional listen and you'll soon find yourself joining in on this Conversation.

So, after 30 years, I'm still a dedicated fan with much respect for the man and his abilities. Tim Finn may be an ordinary man but he has extraordinary talents.

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