Indie wunderkind Liam Finn has burst onto the musical landscape with the force and presence of an artist twice his age. The 23-year-old New Zealander plays nearly every instrument on his first solo release I'll Be Lightnin... more »g, a responsibility he doesn't relinquish when performing live. During his raucous yet intimate performances Liam utilizes effects pedals to create, sample and loop bass, guitar, drums, vocals and even Theremin. Liam's sound ranges from foggy and intimate to fuzzed-out garage but melodies are always the order of the day. On I'll Be Lightning, Liam has translated the shambolic energy of his live show onto vintage 2-inch tape, yielding a studio album of frightening power and endless hooks.« less
Indie wunderkind Liam Finn has burst onto the musical landscape with the force and presence of an artist twice his age. The 23-year-old New Zealander plays nearly every instrument on his first solo release I'll Be Lightning, a responsibility he doesn't relinquish when performing live. During his raucous yet intimate performances Liam utilizes effects pedals to create, sample and loop bass, guitar, drums, vocals and even Theremin. Liam's sound ranges from foggy and intimate to fuzzed-out garage but melodies are always the order of the day. On I'll Be Lightning, Liam has translated the shambolic energy of his live show onto vintage 2-inch tape, yielding a studio album of frightening power and endless hooks.
"I'm not saying that Liam Finn got anywhere on his father's coattails, but if he did, thank God. This album is a dream come true for me, as a die-hard Split Enz/Neil Finn fan, and it came completely unexpected. Liam is an updated mirror reflection of his father - crafty songwriter, truly gifted singer and multi-instrumentalist. I've only had a short time with I'll Be Lightning, but the stand out tracks are Wide Awake On the Voyage Home (channeling Mazzy Star), Shadow of Your Man, Better to Be, Second Chance and my fav, Gather to the Chapel (which is a mournful yet uplifting song about a friend's death). I hate to admit that this album eclipses the very strong new release by Crowded House, Time on Earth, but it must be said. I had the privilege to see this young man perform in 1999 on Neil's Try Whistling This tour, at the tender age of 16. I should have known by his seamless ability to keep up with the vets on stage that a profound career was inevitable. Amazing solo debut - all instrumentation and vocals created solely by Liam."
Fire in your belly
Howlinw | California, USA | 02/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow. I guess sometimes being the progeny of a famous musician does pay off. The Finns though always struck me as a deeply musical family, the type of folks who would be playing music whether or not it brought them riches and fame. Some people are just born into it and Liam makes a case for this phenomenon with his ease and facility with the craft of making music. He played all the instruments and atop that wrote some truly fine songs that are heartfelt and touching as well as catchy.
In terms of sound, I think the Rolling Stone graphic (Elliot Smith - Despair + A Laprechaun = Liam Finn) captures it about right. It's quiet and contemplative music but not at all depressing, plus it has a certain playfulness about it that can only come from someone who loves what he does. It's a homey, authentic and rootsy record with bits of electronic instrumentation thrown in for good measure. It reminds me of Paul McCartney's first solo effort (also one man playing the instruments and having fun doing it, revealing a unique and quirky charm). Not exactly an original concept but one perfectly executed here.
I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for young Mr. Finn, and I am predicting great things."
Brilliant in every sense of the word
dalipardon | Seattle, WA United States | 02/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Months before its release I was already excited about this album. I'd seen Liam open for Crowded House in Portland and was so incredibly impressed. Since it was released in NZ months before the US, I'd been listening to "Better To Be" and "Gather to the Chapel" on Youtube over and over again. Being a diehard Crowded House/Neil Finn fan since I was a child, I really hate to admit that I love Liam Finn's album more than Crowded House's latest, "Time On Earth." I just cringed saying that because I have always be such a loyal CH fan. "I'll Be Lightning" is amazing and I expect this album to do very well in the US if enough people can get the word around. I can already tell you this will be my #1 album for the year. Beautifully written, melodic, harmonic, indie pop/rock with a wonderful energy. Even the song "Gather to the Chapel" about a heavy subject matter like death is so lovely and melodic, it leaves you with a sense of peace - which is exactly the effect I think he was going for. Liam has really learned the art of songwriting and songcrafting from the best in the world - his Dad, Neil Finn. This album far surpasses the music Liam was making with his first band, Betchadupa. I think his songwriting and musicianship has finally been able to flourish as a solo artist. If you listen to artists like Elliott Smith, The Shins, Crowded House, The Beatles, be sure to check this album out."
A Happier Man
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 02/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Liam Finn's solo disc "I'll Be Lightning" is a great set from this young musician whose style is not far afield from his famous father Neil and Uncle Tim Finn. Finn fronted a band Betchadupa that had several CDs such as Move Over & Sleepy News. This CD is going to make those discs collector's items in fast form. His songs become stronger with repeated listenings. On "Second Chance" his busy arrangement alone makes you take notice including what sounds like tubas floating in the mix. "Gather to the Chapel" is my current favorite with its sweet midtempo melody, gorgeous harmonies and what sounds like a crazy violin that keeps interjecting itself almost like it's out of control and short circuiting, "Your photo over the alter, old friends dressed in black, first time that I've seen you in ages." "Lead Balloon" may be a rocker or a bit of whimsy, "A free man is a happier man." "Night is just the day giving in," Liam sings on the nearly all-vocal track "Lullaby." It's so different that it's riveting. Liam actually brings to mind Paul McCartney on "Energy Spent" with its sweet melody and soaring harmony, "I'm not broken, just a little energy spent & it's a long way from here." "Remember when you made another friend and I knew what he was up to, but I know that I can trust you; Eventually I ached with jealousy and I don't know what came over me," is deeply personal, astonishingly moving, on the brilliant "Remember When." The title track is meticulously detailed with a little laugh and glowing harmonies. "Turn away from me, I can't stay to see you look at me in that way," Liam sings on the moody closer "Shadow of Your Man" with a lovely melody and a stately piano. Liam Finn's disc is incredibly good, not to be missed by any that like to marry melody, intelligent lyrics, lovely harmonies and detailed and varied musical instrumentation. It will take your breath away! Bravo!"
Liam Finn's "I'll Be Lightning" bridges the musical generati
Meredith B. Trunk | Charlotte, NC | 02/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Liam Finn has inherited his father and uncle's musical genius. My teenaged daughters have been listening to this CD ever since I bought it on its release date in January. It has some wonderful songs, including the heartrending "Gather to the Chapel," which is a tribute to the late Paul Hester, Crowded House's original drummer. My daughters prefer some of the more uptempo numbers like "Second Chance" and "Wise Man." There's not a bad one on the whole CD, though."