Crowded House - Intriguer
The reality is that Intriguer, only Crowded House's 6th studio album, is really their first since their reformation and drummer Paul Hester's death, and the first to include his replacement, Matt Sherod. While 2007's Time On Earth was credited to the band, it was acknowledged that it was intended to be a Neil Finn solo record. As such, expectations are high that the surviving members might be able to recapture the magic of their earlier albums.
To an extent, they do. Like their earlier albums, this rewards repeat listening. Songs that may appear hook free gradually seep into your consciousness, while the radio friendly likes of lead single 'Saturday Sun', and the upbeat, Beatles-y - if formulaic - 'Inside Out' are instantly accessible. 'Twice If You're Lucky', easily the album's high point, has a slow-burning, wistful catchiness that reminds you just how good a songwriter Neil Finn is. Elsewhere, though, gentle ballad 'Even If' and 'Falling Dove' meander along aimlessly.
Neil Finn has said that the name Intriguer refers to a shadowy figure that he saw briefly in a hotel, and it's a strangely aposite title for an album that has glimpses of brilliance but never quite displays the songwriting talent that we know they're capable of. Having said that, if you give this a few listens, I predict that you'll find yourself humming a melody and suddenly realising it's something from Intriguer...