High hopes for ‘Dizzy Heights’

'Dizzy Heights' marks something of a musical departure for Neil Finn.
'Dizzy Heights' marks something of a musical departure for Neil Finn.

Crowded House frontman Neil Finn is all about keeping the music in the family with his latest offering.

Once upon a time there would be scores of ads in newspapers, magazines, even in shop windows, nowadays you can find the Lennon to your McCartney on a specialist website, and chances are there’s probably an app for that too.

For Finn it was an even easier proposition to find himself a band. He just asked his two sons, Liam and Elroy.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” says Finn who’s no stranger to keeping things in the family. As a teenager, before Crowded House was born, he joined his brother Tim’s band Split Enz. At the time, they were one of New Zealand’s biggest ever bands.

“I’d love to do work with them again, too, maybe more of a writing collaboration next time. My whole family is talented.

“I’m very admiring of the songs Liam has written and the way he plays, and our son Elroy is developing as a good writer, plus he’s a great drummer. It wasn’t a hard sell for me.”

Liam (30) has released two solo albums, with a third in the works, while drummer Elroy has played for his brother in a variety of bands.

Listening to their new album ‘Dizzy Heights’ it’s easy to see the recording process was not a fraught one, as the finished product is very relaxed.

Finn added: “There are moments of tension when making a record. If something sounds like the most natural thing in the world, then that’s a success, but what goes into giving that impression is often far from it.

“Sometimes you don’t feel like you have a creative bone in your body, but the next day it comes back home to you.”

‘Dizzy Heights’ is Finn’s third solo album, the follow-up to 2002’s ‘One Nil’, although don’t think he’s been standing still since then – there have been two Crowded House albums and a handful of other assorted releases in the meantime. ‘Dizzy Heights’ is, however, one of the most unusual-sounding albums of his career.

As the founder of Crowded House, Finn became synonymous with perfectly honed, classic-sounding pop which took Crowded House around the world many times and helped them sell 20 million albums.

‘Dizzy Heights’ might not be classed as a change in direction for Finn, but it’s most definitely a detour. He puts much of that down to the producer, Dave Fridmann. As well as being a non-touring member of Mercury Rev since 1993, Fridmann has worked with artists including The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Weezer, Tame Impala and The Cribs.