After gradually assuming a front-and-center role in brother Tim's band Split Enz, native New Zealander and transplanted Australian Neil Finn moved firmly into a leadership position with Crowded House, a trio whose debut al... more »bum appeared in 1986. Slightly more mainstream than his new-wavy Split Enz work, the record nonetheless evinced signs of darkness ("Don't Dream It's Over," "World Where You Live," "Hole in the River") among more chipper numbers such as "Something So Strong." Often gorgeous, Crowded House proved to be the group's biggest release in America, which didn't seem to have a radio home for them after the success of "Don't Dream" and "Something." They disbanded in 1996. --Rickey Wright« less
After gradually assuming a front-and-center role in brother Tim's band Split Enz, native New Zealander and transplanted Australian Neil Finn moved firmly into a leadership position with Crowded House, a trio whose debut album appeared in 1986. Slightly more mainstream than his new-wavy Split Enz work, the record nonetheless evinced signs of darkness ("Don't Dream It's Over," "World Where You Live," "Hole in the River") among more chipper numbers such as "Something So Strong." Often gorgeous, Crowded House proved to be the group's biggest release in America, which didn't seem to have a radio home for them after the success of "Don't Dream" and "Something." They disbanded in 1996. --Rickey Wright
"Anyone familiar with 80s music will recognize the soulful, expressive sounds of Crowded House from some of this album's biggest hits, including "Don't Dream It's Over," "Something So Strong," and "Now We're Getting Somewhere." These popular tunes accurately represent the entire album, whose songs range from pop-like tracks with catchy lyrics ("World Where You Live") to tracks with a similar beat but a more moody feel ("Mean to Me"). If you've ever purchased an album for 1-2 songs only to find out that the rest of the album was totally different, this will NOT be your experience with Crowded House, as the band's sound is very consistant throughout. Furthermore, although Crowded House experienced little fame beyond the 80s, their music still feels thoroughly fresh and modern. If you don't yet have any Crowded House in your 80s music collection, this album is a must-have."
One of Neil's best albums sounds great on DVD audio
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 08/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I picked up this album on DVD-Audio simple because it was a great album on both vinyl and CD. Finally it gets the sound it deserves. The separation is crisp, sharp and not at all distracting. You can either listen to it in stereo (if you've got a DVD player that isn't DVD-Audio capable)or in multi-channel Dolby Digital. Both versions sound great, however, the DVD-Audio brings the album to life. There's better separation on the vocals and the instrumental interplay sounds more natural.This also includes the videos shot for the album. Song lyrics appear on the screen should you turn on your television while listening to the sound. This one along with Richard Thompson's Rumor and Sigh sound great on this new format. Unfortunately, I can't compare the SACD versions (because there are none)nor can I compare them to other discs on that other format (I haven't picked up a player yet as I wanted to see which format would win out). If you already have a DVD player you can enjoy this album in enhanced audio and video without having the DVD-Audio component portion. You'll know this when your main menu comes up (without a disc playing). It will say DVD Audio/Video vs. just DVD Video."
80's Pop Gem
Steven Sly | Kalamazoo, MI United States | 01/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Crowded House was a 3 piece band from Australia led by Neil Finn who was a former member of the band Split Endz (along with his brother Tim). Crowded House got quite big in America back in the late 80's with their blend of strong song writing and harmony vocals. This is the only Crowded House album that I own, but I have always really liked it. Two huge hits came from this album "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong" both of which are great pop tunes. Other highlights include "Mean To Me", "World Where You Live", and the haunting "Hole In The River". If you are looking for very well done pop this album is for you."
The Rodney Dangerfield of pop
Greg Brady | Capital City | 02/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They don't get no respect. Ask most Americans who they are and they'll say "They did 'Don't Dream it's Over',right?" Those with slightly better memories might recall the Aussie band's "Something So Strong" and perhaps "Locked out" (from 1994 disc TOGETHER ALONE). But the poor chart placement in the U.S. has nothing to do with the quality of music found here. (For what it's worth, the U.K. knew a good thing when it heard it. CH landed 10 Top 40 hits there.)
The band was Neil Finn's next musical endeavour after leaving 80s new-wavers Split Enz, taking its name from the cramped conditions of the band's home in California. The band combined somewhat Beatlesque melodies with Finn's expressive tenor to churn out a consistently tuneful pop, albeit with more depth than the typical Whitney Houston or Janet Jackson fare of the era.
Little known trivia: Guitar shredder Joe Satriani makes an appearance here but not the way you'd expect. Joe contributes some backing vocals to the disc.
HIGHLIGHTS: The charging "Mean to Me" masks a dark subject in its happy pop: the smothering nature of a clingy woman. ("I could not escape/A plea from the heart/You know what it means to me/She said don't walk away/I'm down on my knees/Please don't be mean to me..") "Now We're Getting Somewhere" finds Finn and his lover coasting on the fumes of love. ("Somewhere in the middle than/Content and much too safe..") He cajoles her to "lay me out" in an effort to rediscover the passion in their jaundiced affair. You've no doubt heard the white soul of "Don't Dream it's Over". It peaked just out of #1 in the U.S. and is easily the best song here and perhaps the finest one penned by Finn thus far. He's desperate here, clinging to his lover in the face of the pressures of day-to-day life. ("They come to build a wall between us/Don't let them win...") The chiming with joy "Something so Strong" ("could carry us away..could carry us today") is the flip side of "Don't Dream"...Finn doing the "happy Snoopy dance" of full bloom infatuation. The melancholy "Hole in the River" is another winner, the tale of a near suicide. ("From the land of the living to the air and sky/She was coming to see him/But something changed her mind..") This would become eerie foreshadowing when future bandmember Paul Hester claimed his own life in 2005 while battling clinical depression. "That's What I Call Love" is the bitter aftermath of a broken heart as Finn bitterly proclaims "You take away my air/You make my lungs collapse/I die tonight".
LOWS: "Can't Carry On" is as close to mediocre as this disc gets. Even then, it's not a tune that I skip. It's just not as good as the music surrounding it.
BOTTOM LINE: It's in the "Blowout Music" section for crying out loud. Take a chance. Recommended especially for fans of Squeeze and Marshall Crenshaw."
Great debut for a great band
jeu8478 | Dallas, TX | 04/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Neil Finn's first album after his Split Enz days is one that, despite the fact that it has dated from being produced in the late-80's, is still a great collection of wonderful pop tunes. Neil's group Crowded House was responsible for some of the best post-Beatles pop, and one can see the beginnings of that here. With songs like "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Hole in the River" Finn shows his knack for melding McCartney-quality melodies with a Lennon-ish flair for words. The group's sound, though, is a little brighter and more jangle-popish than it would be in later releases.The group would later build on the foundation laid forth in this album in the terrific follow up albums Temple of Low Men and Woodface. This is not a bad place to start getting into the group, though, because this album has Crowded House's most well-known songs.Highlights? "Don't Dream It's Over", the House's best known song (ask anyone and they can sing you the "hey now, hey now" chorus, whether they know who sang it or not) and one of the 10 best of the 80s; "Something so Strong", a glorious straightahead pop song, also known as Crowded House's other US hit; and "World Where You Live", a template for Neil Finn's light/dark songwriting style.All in all, a strong debut for a group that more people should discover. And if I ever hear you call this group a "two-hit
wonder", I'll puke."