Friday, January 15, 2010

Brothers in arms: TIM FINN and NEIL FINN are at it again!

While we all anxiously await a new FINN BROTHERS album or a SPLIT ENZ reunion tour outside of Australia and New Zealand, we'll have to make do with some other fine FINN releases in the form of TIM FINN's excellent two CD Anthology: North South East West and NEIL FINN's project, 7 WORLDS COLLIDE!

For those of you who have yet to experience the Finn magic, just let me tell you that these two are ordinary men with extraordinary talents! Tim's been on the music scene for nearly 40 years while Neil trails just behind him with just under 35 years in his back pocket.

Tim started Split Enz in 1972, inviting young Neil to join the band in 1977. They achieved astounding success in the early '80s before disbanding halfway through the decade.

Neil formed Crowded House and, returning the favor, invited big brother Tim into the band for the Woodface album. Tim then left and went back to a solo career while Neil carried Crowded House onwards for a few more years.

In the meantime, they've managed to release two Finn Brothers albums while juggling their own separate careers, some Split Enz reunion shows and a whole lot more.

Towards the end of 2009, the Finns graciously gave us two separate, unrelated releases that will cool the flames until the next Crowded House album and Tim Finn solo release comes along...

Although I thought it could never be done, Tim Finn's North South East West two CD anthology brings together the best of his solo recordings, Split Enz hits, Finn Brothers tracks and some new recordings all in one package.

This collection starts out with seven classic Split Enz songs like "Dirty Creature", "I See Red", "Poor Boy" and "Six Months In A Leaky Boat". An eighth Enz tune, "Stuff And Nonsense", is represented here by a newly recorded version by Tim and Missy Higgins.

Though there are no Crowded House songs included, there are new versions of "Weather With You (by Tim, Neil and Neil's son Liam Finn), "How Will You Go" and "It's Only Natural" (by Tim and Bic Runga).

The rest of the collection features tracks spanning Tim's entire solo career including cuts from his '83 debut solo album, Escapade up through 2008's The Conversation.  The album Big Canoe is represented by a newly rearranged version of "So Deep".

Apart from the re-recordings listed above, there are also some great previously unreleased tunes including "Into The Water", "Nothing Unusual" and "Light Years Away".

If you don't have any of Tim's recordings, this is the perfect place to start.  If you are already a fan, there are enough gems to make this an absolutely essential purchase!

The first 7 Worlds Collide album, released under Neil Finn's name, was a unique live performance experience, fusing the varied talents of a stellar cast across a range of cover versions to create a series of shows that culminated in the live album of the same name.

Seven years after that project, instigator Neil Finn has upped the ante with the new 7 Worlds Collide project, The Sun Came Out, a double album of original songs created and recorded by many of the original cast alongside notable new additions in an intense three weeks in his native New Zealand. This time the beneficiaries of this album will be Oxfam, as well as music

Familiar faces from the original album abound, Johnny Marr, Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway of Radiohead but this album, first and foremost presents the listener with new songs rather than interpretations of old favorites. The Sun Came Out also features a whole host of new guest talents such as KT Tunstall and Wilco and heart stopping firsts, including Phil Selway's songwriting and vocal debut as well as dream collaborations such as those between Johnny Marr and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy; and KT Tunstall and Neil Finn .

At the heart of the record is Neil Finn. His enthusiasm and drive persuaded the likes of celebrated producer Jim Scott, Lisa Germano, Johnny Marr and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Pat Sansone, John Stirratt and Glenn Kotche (amongst others) to spend their Christmas holiday in New Zealand and even interrupted KT Tunstall’s honeymoon in the process.

The album's high point, for me anyway, is "Too Blue", by Johnny Marr and Neil Finn. This glorious pop tune is the younger, happier brother of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", a song written a few decades back by Marr and his Smiths mate Morrissey.  The previous 7 Worlds Collide album contained a live version of that Smiths track with Neil singing lead and it remains the second best version of that song. "Too Blue" is just as strong. Did I already say it was glorious?

The worst thing about a Finn album being released is that you have to wait until the next one comes.... and I'm not a very patient guy.  So, come on Tim and Neil... I'm waiting!

I don't wanna sail,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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