Neil and Liam Finn: Lightsleeper review – father and son pour out the melodies


One couldn’t accuse Neil Finn of indolence. Since Crowded House reunited in 2007, he’s managed two albums with them, one as half of Pajama Club with his wife Sharon, four solo albums, and now this, with his son. Oh, and he’s joined Fleetwood Mac.

But with this rush of fiftysomething creativity has come a certain restlessness. Finn made his last solo album, Out of Silence, from four sessions in successive weeks, streamed live on Facebook, but this one has the feel of something very much more leisurely, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Both Finns have a gift for tightly focused, melodic pop: songs that seem plucked from the ether and pulled into focus, belying the writing skill that went into them. There’s little such focus on Lightsleeper, where what might have been phrases or fragments of less expansive songs are allowed to run on and on, until they drag. Take the seven minutes of Where’s My Room, which spends three minutes drifting around in a pleasantly forgettable way, then one minute being a song, then three minutes ending it. But then that’s followed by the perfect miniature of Anger Plays a Part, and suddenly one is drawn back in again – until the realisation that a third of the song is coda. Lightsleeper ends up being as frustrating as it is pleasurable. It sounds as though both Finns took great delight in playing with and indulging each other, and melodies pour out of them, but the pair of them – Neil, especially – are the rare musicians who are more interesting the more they think about the widest possible appeal.

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