Another reissue in the Centenary Edition, in a Slipcase with Bonus Tracks.
Woodface has shining moments--and weak ones too
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Woodface" was to be Crowded House's return to the top of the pop charts--Neil Finn, I understand, delivered a much darker record to Capitol that they rejected, and that's how Tim came into the band--he and Neil had been collaborating on a Finn Brothers project that pretty much became "Woodface." And while Tim Finn is truly an outstanding songsmith in his own right, he's not the consistently impressive lyricist that Neil is--some of the lyrics don't work as well as one would expect from a Neil Finn composition. Still, much of the material is among the best and catchy Crowded House stuff available--"She Goes On," "Four Seasons in One Day," "Fall at Your Feet," "Fame Is," "Weather With You"--which is why, I think, it's such a popular album in Europe--that, along with the tongue-in-cheek poke at American shallow consumerism: "Chocolate Cake." In a nutshell, they bartered some of the artistic lyricism for pop sensibility when they brought in Tim (and if you want to hear the "Woodface" rejects, pick up "After Glow"). But it works--this may be the most immediately accessible of all Crowded House stuff. The only truly "weak link" is the obligatory Paul Hester comp that shows up on all of their albums--the Ringo effect, I guess. "Italian Plastic" is okay, but it's a bit like serving a platter of corndogs at a wedding reception--sure, they're tasty, but don't belong with the caviar and champagne."
Who else, but Neil!
Michael D. Abernethy | Chapel Hill, NC United States | 01/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I once read a review of this album which stated, "This is not only one of the best albums of the nineties, but it is also one of the best white/male/anglo-saxon albums ever recorded. Period." After owning WOODFACE for a little over a year now, I can not agree more. Every song on this album fits perfectly together to create nothing less than what could be described as a journey. Even the weakest tracks on the album (I will not state my opinions here, from fear of offending many a Crowded House fan!) are near perfect pop tunes. And the strongest tracks transcend. "There Goes God" is one of the wittiest songs I have ever heard - the lyrics here are truly stunning! "Fall At Your Feet" is simply gorgeous. Its power to move your heart is undeniable. And lastly, (I could go on and on with this, but I will try to cut it short!) "Four Seasons In One Day" is the best Beatles-influenced song I have ever heard; tie-ing only with Tears For Fears' "Sowing the Seeds of Love." Its simple melody is so disarming - the way it works its way underneath your skin is true magic that is rarely ever seen in music of this decade. But again, it is the album as a whole - the cohesiveness of the writing and performances - that make WOODFACE Crowded House's best album. The fact that I picked up this album eight years after its release, and it is not weighted down by the typically dated songwriting so characteristic of the early 1990's is a testament to the quality of Neil's overwhelming talent as a songwriter. As I said, these tracks transcend! They are not of a time, or of a period in your life - they are true classics. I have never once regretted the purchase of this album. I urge you to pick this one up. If you have doubts about its quality, it is not too difficult to find it used for about 7 or 8 bucks. Go ahead! Do yourself a favor and buy WOODFACE ASAP!"
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 01/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even above their wonderful debut, this is my favorite Crowded House CD. It's probably because Neil and Tim Finn reunited long enough to work their brotherly chemistry for a batch of melodic, hook laden songs. Unfortunately, the image of goofy nonsense that the first album's hits and videos cultivated remained as one Crowded House couldn't shake, and despite such obvious charmers as "Weather With You" or "Four Seasons in One Day," chart success again eluded them. That's a darn shame, because the band's assimilated influences of Byrds and Beatles were at their peak on "Woodface." There was even a lethal double-dose of humor in the American Vs England "Chocolate Cake" (these guys were New Zealanders, remember), and the thinly disguised swipe at Hollywood in "There Goes God."Anyone who got to see Crowded House on tour during this period also got a magical show. I was fortunate enough to catch them on a night that Roger McGuinn came out for an encore of "Mr Tambourine Man" and "Eight Miles High." (If you can snatch a copy of the "Byrdhouse" EP, it's worth it.) Tim again left for solo ground after this, and took that little extra sparkle with him. But for the duration of "Woodface," the four cornered Crowded House managed to spin some of the lost magic of their Split Enz days."
A Jewel Revisited
C. Denovan | Victoria, Australia | 06/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I played this album today for the first time in many years and was instantly reminded of the genius that was "Crowded House". So much so that I felt compelled to write a review (a first for me) of this fanatstic piece. What can I say? - the songs are the Finn brothers at their best!! The stunning harmonies resulting from Tim Finn's short-lived tenure with the band (from memory this was the only album he recorded whilst an official member of Crowded House) are nothing short of heavenly.
There are many hits to be found on this album, amongst them "Chocolate Cake", "Weather With You" and "Four Seasons In One Day", but for mine the real gem is the hauntingly beautiful (though never commercially lauded) "She Goes On". This ode to a departed loved one never fails to bring tears to my eyes and is my all-time favourite Neil Finn composition. A big statement when there is so much brilliance to choose from! To be honest I'd give this album five stars based on this track alone, so I'm lucky there are so many other great tunes to justify my rating.
"Woodface" also includes "Italian Plastic" which was penned by the late and much-missed Paul Hester. Given that he was not exactly renowed for his songwriting abilities as he was for his brilliant drumming and percussion work it's a pretty good tune. The chorus in particular is very catchy. I also love the songs "How Will You Go" and "As Sure As I Am" which I don't recall being hits but are good examples of why virtually every song on this album could well have been a commercial success.
If you were ever a fan of "Crowded House" and for some reason don't own this album then you simply must buy it. If you already own it and it's collecting dust in your CD collection perhaps it's time to have a listen again. For if you're anything like me, the melodic sounds of Nick Seymour, the great Paul Hester and the amazingly talented Finn Brothers will most definitely feature heavily in the Soundtrack of your Life."
Woodface, a tour de force
William Levinson | Watchung, NJ USA | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is simply the best melodic pop album recorded since Abbey Road."