Crowded House – Alone Together (1993)

FrontCüver1Together Alone is the fourth studio album by the band Crowded House. It was released in October 1993 and was their first album to feature multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart as a full band member. Unlike the band’s first three albums, which were recorded in the US and Australia and produced by Mitchell Froom, Together Alone was recorded in New Zealand with producer Youth. Seven singles were released from Together Alone, including “Distant Sun”, which was a top 10 hit in New Zealand and Canada, and “Locked Out” which reached number 12 on the UK singles chart and number 8 on the US Modern Rock chart, the latter on the strength of the song’s inclusion on the soundtrack of the 1994 film Reality Bites.

The album was mainly recorded at Neil Finn’s friends Nigel and Jody Harrocks’ house at Karekare Beach in New Zealand, with additional recording in Melbourne, Australia at both Periscope and Platinum Studios. The album’s opening track was named “Kare Kare” after the beach near where the album was recorded.

Booklet05AThe album topped the album chart in New Zealand, reached number 2 in Australia and number 4 in the UK. Due to its inclusion on the Reality Bites soundtrack, the song “Locked Out” was bundled with The Knack’s “My Sharona”, which also features in the film, as a promotional jukebox single. The video single release of “Nails in My Feet” featured a documentary of the making of Together Alone entitled Footage from the Together Alone recording session.

The song “Catherine Wheels” was written by Neil and Tim Finn while with Split Enz and was originally titled “The First To Say Gone”. The final version included input from bass player Nick Seymour which earned him a co-writing credit, one of only five he has with Crowded House. (The others are “Recurring Dream” and “Help Is Coming” from Afterglow, “Newcastle Jam” from the Special Edition Live Album and “Isolation” from Intriguer).

Booklet01AAllmusic noted that the album is, “More experimental and musically varied than any of their previous releases” and cited the addition of Mark Hart to the band’s line-up and new producer Youth as reasons for this. The album features more complex, layered guitar and keyboard arrangements than on Crowded House’s previous works. The title track features a New Zealand Māori choir and log drummers and was co-written by Ngapo ‘Bub’ Wehi of the Te Waka Huia Cultural Group Choir, who also provide backing vocals on “In My Command” and “Catherine Wheels”.

Bassist Nick Seymour created the album cover, which features a red car, possibly a taxi. It contains Jesus, a golden figure and a third occupant in the back of the car of whom only an arm, clad in a striped shirt, is visible. The car is surrounded by a golden halo and has fluffy dice hanging from the rear view mirror. The cover of the 2007 single “Don’t Stop Now” has a similar red car and the song’s video features the car during its animated sequences. The album artwork was co-designed by Seymour and Margo Chase. It incorporates photography, by Youri Lenquette and Merlyn Rosenberg, of the band and of landscapes including Karekare beach.

PromoPic1993AMore experimental and musically varied than any of their previous releases, Together Alone finds Crowded House branching out into traditional Maori music and heavy guitars, as well as the shining pop songcraft that is Neil Finn’s trademark. Picking up a new guitarist and adding the production skills of ex-Killing Joke member Youth, Crowded House energize their sound without losing sight of Finn’s classic pop songwriting, as “Locked Out” and “Distant Sun” prove. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Neil Finn – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, keyboards
Mark Hart (keyboards, guitar, lap steel guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
Paul Hester (drums, percussion, vocals)
Nick Seymour (bass, background vocals)
Noel Crombie (percussion on 08.)
Dror Erez (accordion on 09.)
Tim Finn (background vocals on 02. + 11.)
Sharon Finn (background vocals on 04., 06. + 08.)
Geoffrey Hales (percussion on 05. + 07.)
Eddie Rayner (keyboards on 01. + 06.)
Brass Band on 02. + 13.:
Clyde Dixon – Stephen Bremner – Laura Astridge – David Bremner – Shaun Jarret
Te Waka Huia Cultural Group Choir (vocals on 02., 11. + 13.)
Log Drummers on 08. + 13.:
Joe – Tereo – Martie – Jamee – Benjamin

01. Kare Kare (Finn/Hart/Hester/Seymour) 3.35
02. In My Command (Finn) 3.43
03. Nails in My Feet (Finn) 3.39
04. Black & White Boy (Finn) 4.00
05. Fingers Of Love (Finn) 4.26
06. Pineapple Head (Finn) 3.27
07. Locked Out (Finn) 3.17
08. Private Universe (Finn) 5.39
09. Walking On The Spot (Finn) 2.54
10. Distant Sun (Finn) 3.49
11. Catherine Wheels (N.Finn/T.Finn/Seymour) 5.12
12. Skin Feeling (Hester) 3.56
13. Together Alone (Finn/Hart/Wehi) 3.55



Crowded House – Woodface (1991)

FrontCover1Woodface is the third studio album by the band Crowded House. The album was produced by Mitchell Froom and released by Capitol in July 1991. It features five singles “Chocolate Cake”, “Fall at Your Feet”, “Weather with You”, “Four Seasons in One Day”, and “It’s Only Natural”. Woodface was a major hit in Australia and New Zealand[4] as well as giving the band their first top ten hit album in the UK. It was listed at No. 3 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums, in October 2010.

During a break from Crowded House following the Canadian leg of the tour in support of their second album, Temple of Low Men, band-leader Neil Finn began recording songs with his older brother and former Split Enz band mate Tim Finn. These songs were originally intended for a Finn Brothers album. Once these sessions were complete, Neil teamed back up with Nick Seymour and Paul Hester to write and record Crowded House’s third album. Capitol Records rejected most of the new Crowded House songs, so Neil asked Tim if the band could use some of the new Finn Brothers songs. Tim agreed, on condition that he would join the band, although he has since indicated he meant this as a joke. Whatever the truth of that claim, the group that returned to the studio included Tim as a full band member.

Booklet02AThe album was titled Woodface and was released in July 1991. It was co-produced by Mitchell Froom and Neil Finn, and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. Eight tracks were co-written by Neil and Tim Finn and mainly feature the brothers harmonising on lead vocals, although Neil takes the lead on “Four Seasons In One Day” and Tim sings “All I Ask”, which later featured in AIDS awareness commercials in Australia.[7] Five other tracks were solo compositions by Neil Finn and the remaining two were written by Paul Hester, including “I’m Still Here”, a hidden track. Former Beach Boys drummer Ricky Fataar is credited on three of the Finn Brothers songs, “All I Ask”, “There Goes God” and “Weather With You”.

Inside1During the UK leg of the Woodface tour, Tim left the band. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart, who had played some keyboards on Woodface, was recruited to replace Tim for the remaining dates. The final date of this tour at The Town & Country Club in London was recorded and given a limited release in Australia, while individual tracks were used as B-sides for the album’s singles in other countries. (by wikipedia)

CrowdedHouse01Where Crowded House’s previous album, Temple of Low Men, showcased the often dark side of a man alone with his thoughts, Woodface represents the joy of reunion and the freedom of a collaborative effort — more than half of the album was originally conceived as a Finn Brothers project, which was Tim and Neil’s first crack at writing together. The songs are easily their finest to date, combining flawless melodies and the outstanding harmonies of the brothers’ perfectly matched voices. (by Chris Woodstra)

Neil Finn (guitar, vocals, keyboards)
Tim Finn (piano, guitar, vocals)
Paul Hester (drums, vocals, keyboards, percussion)
Nick Seymour (bass, vocals)
Alex Acuna (percussion)
Peter Bucknell (violin 0n 08.)
Stuart Ellison (keyboards)
Ricky Fataar (drums, percussion on 05., 08. + 10.)
Sharon Finn (backing vocals on 10.)
Mitchell Froom (keyboards)
Geoffrey Hales (percussion)
Mark Hart (keyboards)
David Hidalgo (accordion on 11.)
Jack Mack (brass)
Vince Parsonage (viola on 08.)
Chris Wilson (harmonica on 01., 04. + 08.)
01. Chocolate Cake (N.Finn/T.Finn) 4.02
02. It’s Only Natural (N.Finn/T.Finn) 3.32
03. Fall At Your Feet (N. Finn) 3.18
04. Tall Trees (N.Finn/T.Finn) 2.19
05. Weather With You (N.Finn/T.Finn) 3.44
06. Whispers And Moans (N. Finn) 3.39
07. Four Seasons In One Day (N.Finn/T.Finn) 2.50
08. There Goes God (N.Finn/T.Finn) 3.50
09. Fame Is (N. Finn) 2.23
10. All I Ask (N.Finn/T.Finn) 3.55
11. As Sure As I Am (N. Finn) 2.53
12. Italian Plastic (Hester) 3.39
13. She Goes On (N. Finn) 3.15
14. How Will You Go 3.07 / I’m Still Here (Hester) 1.07

(“I’m Still Here” follows “How Will You Go” in track 14 as a hidden track at 3:37 after 30 seconds silence.)