Crowded House have been rushing about playing and promoting Intriguer, their follow-up to 2007's Time on Earth. And rightfully so, because, well, Time may have been printed with the Crowded name, but it was—and bassist Nick Seymour concurs—truly a Neil Finn solo album that reunited the band in the studio, and helped them settle in new drummer Matt Sherrod, best known for his work with Beck (original drummer Paul Hester died in 2005).
Intriguer definitely conveys that reunion and the revamped creative chemistry of the band. Finn's lyrical tendencies are still intact—easy on the surface but rife for multilayered interpretations, world-weary but hopeful—and the band's effortless pop is back in full effect, still littered with occasional loud and experimental outbursts that prove, despite a couple of songs about maturation and family, the boys aren't old or tired.
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Live, Crowded House has never disappointed. Aside from their naturally witty stage banter, the band (and even Finn's solo sets) have been wise to include fan favorites in large amounts, surely resisting a natural urge to plow through the new and more personally exciting material. The band's website even features a song request submission feature by tour date, which Seymour attests is legit, manned by Finn himself, and (sometimes unfortunately for the career musicians) somewhat of a siren song for super-fans who want to prove themselves in the category of most obscure b-side. Fellow kiwis and psych-poppers Lawrence Arabia open.