Together 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.
The 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).
Allmusic 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.
More 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