1988, Music

Temple of Low Men (1988)

Like so much other music, I have come to this band backwards, having recently listened to Neill Finn’s solo debut before I had ever heard any of their records.

What I discovered on his solo debut is that he is not my kind of songwriter and often not my kind of performer. This is not to say that he’s bad, or anything, but that I don’t love his lyrics and I wish his performances were a little more to my tastes.

But I still sort of assumed that I would find something in Crowded House to like, something that was missing in his debut. For the most part though, that’s not true.

Finn is probably an above average songwriter. His melodies are okay, and his lyrics are occasionally very good, but they’re usually just above average (occasionally not great, though).

Crowded House has a little bit more grit on this record than the band on Finn’s solo debut. And that helps Finn’s songs or, at least, it helps me with Finn’s songs. But to the degree there is grit, much of that is softened by the early ’90s production, which often uses ’80s keyboards in place or traditional instruments, or augments those instruments.

And so it ends up feeling too polished for me on the one hand the songs are not strong enough for me to forgive the relative polish on the other hand. I don’t think this is my kind of band.

Still, it’s all very competent.

6/10

All tracks written by Neil Finn.

  1. “I Feel Possessed” – 3:48
  2. “Kill Eye” – 3:14
  3. “Into Temptation” – 4:33
  4. “Mansion in the Slums” – 3:45
  5. “When You Come” – 4:45
  6. “Never Be the Same” – 4:28
  7. “Love This Life” – 3:36
  8. “Sister Madly” – 2:52
  9. “In the Lowlands” – 3:56
  10. “Better Be Home Soon” – 3:07
  • Neil Finn – vocals, guitar
  • Nick Seymour – bass, backing vocals
  • Paul Hester – drums, backing vocals

Additional musicians

  • Tim Finn – backing vocals
  • Richard Thompson – guitar solo “Sister Madly”
  • Alex Acuña – percussion
  • Heart Attack Horns – horns
  • Mitchell Froom – keyboards

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