Category: music

100 for 2000 – #57. The Magic Numbers – The Magic Numbers

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #7. The Magic Numbers – The Magic Numbers

Ok. An album from 2005 someone might have actually heard. I’d like to think I wasn’t being obscurist in 2005. I had just zoned out, and tuned into my own little world for a bit. In fact, I had very few means of new music getting to me. Old man records in Mojo, the always great recommendations from a bunch of trusted friends, and  around this time, a wee radio show called the Bug Eyed Highway that I did with my friend Sarah Goodes. And it’s from that radio show that I discovered the self titled debut by the Magic Numbers.

The Bug Eyed Highway was a country/roots rock show on FBi. I’m pretty sure no-one cared about what we did. We felt pretty out of the loop from the station. The only contact we had from anyone who worked there was in our pigeon hole, where it seemed like anything that had a guitar that someone else didn’t want would go into our pile. We’d get reggae records. And anything that might actually be relevant, say, the new Neil Young record, never got to us. So we did our thing and it was great.

But we did try to fit in, and this album was one of those times. It was on the playlist. It was a very FBi record, and one of the few we figured that might have a track that wouldn’t make our show explode. Amazing then, to think the track we played was Which Way To Happy. A good track but by no means a highlight. It just had a Neil Young-ish rhythm to it.

I listened to some of the other tracks and liked them. Friends of mine loved them, and to complete the trifecta…Mojo magazine loved them too. So I gave it more time than any album the NME wrote about in years.

But it wasn’t until a lot later that this record really got me. By then, hit singles had come and gone and passed me by. Then, I See You, You See Me was released as a single, and the band toured (playing BDO). I was wowed by that song, the tour and the Robert Doisneau-y film clip.

The album opened up pretty quickly after that. By the time of their BDO sideshow I had even bought a T-shirt.

There’s something about innocence in music that I love. All that Jonathan Richman type stuff. A simplicity. And the Magic Numbers captured that, and wrapped it all up in warm boy/girl harmonies and some very sweet guitar playing (and bass playing).

Delights are plenty and I’m sure they are written about in many more reviews on the internet. Morning’s Eleven, Forever Lost, Don’t Give Up the Fight, etc. And it’s so dramatic – some teen heartbreak drama going on here. But somehow they can make a line like “I would die for you” sound sweet and not, frankly, absolutely shit.

I could probably lose a couple of songs of this album and not be too fussed. And the follow up, Those the Brokes, had only a handful of good songs. So this is has ended up being one of those time-and-place albums for me. But it was a good time and place, and hopefully their new album this year can bring back some of that… magic.

100 for 2000 – #56. Peabody – The New Violence

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #6. Peabody – The New Violence

I said previously about Peabody that I was one of their mates, but quickly became an adoring fan after their first album. That huge jump is overshadowed by the jump they made on their second album, the New Violence. This album is unbelievable.

The real meat of this record comes from it’s anger. And anger in music is a much abused emotion. It can seem childish. But Peabody were certainly angry, as was I. And in those dark times, this is just about the only record that tried to address it.

The big thing was John Howard. The fuckwit. And I’m not trying to be funny, or overly shocking, or making any other side points by calling him a fuckwit. He is a fuckwit. Yes, even to the level of George W Bush. He shared all the same traits.

Howard may have had more raw intelligence, but he never used it. He is the guy who if you started talking to at the pub, you’d back away and say “whatever you think old man” and thank fuck his generation is dying out. Pity the guy in power was one of the last. He tried to turn my country into an economic conservatism.

He’s also, let us not forget, a racist. I would call GWB blindly ignorant of most people, but I would not call him as actively and hatefully racist as John Howard. He has a view of a real Australia that absolutely and totally excluded me. When non whites got beaten up in the worse hate crimes I have ever personally saw with my own eyes, I had the leader of my own country go on TV and tell em what I saw was wrong. He did the same with the Cronulla riots.

His One Australia Policy (a dodgy document name if there ever was one) was his call to end multiculturalism in Australia. And yes, that was in 1988 and his view, in public, softened. But a decade later he would sell out multiculturalism by giving his party’s preferential votes to One Nation.

Not that The New Violence is in any way an anti-Howard album in any literal sense. But there is a fire about this, and the war, and talking about our generation, God, violence and the world being a dangerous place. It’s never literal, it’s never specific, but the fire is there. But in the end, these are the things I thought about when I heard this album.

It also helps that the production and the songwriting jumped several levels. Even on a casual listen, it’s louder, thrashier and more in your face. Don’t Lose It, Wrecking BallSynaesthesia, Got Your Hooks In – all possibly the heaviest things they’ve ever recorded.

But in the tradition of the greatest politically minded bands, they also write relationship songs with equal passion. Got You On My Radar (a song the band actually doesn’t like) wraps aerial warfare with love and courting. There is also a sweetness in the Weight Just Right. This was a long way from the pun-filled, smart-arsey stuff of their early EPs.

Their live shows were amazing during this time, and I went to every show I could. But this album only took them a touch higher than their last album. I remember talking to Loren, and wondering why musicians love this band so much, and how non musicians don’t get it? I took this as a challenge and recommended this band to anyone I knew who could play guitar. And they all loved them.

Sadly, the fantastic, tight, lean 3 piece line up of Peabody broke up when drummer Graeme Trewin left. Peabody regrouped with a new drummer and, for the first time, a second guitarist, and made a very different third album.

100 for 2000 – #55. Amy Rigby – Little Fugitive

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #5. Amy Rigby – Little Fugitives
(Signature Sounds)

Geez. 2005 in retrospect was quite the adult contemporary year! The only other person I knew who liked Amy Rigby was my friend Sam, who told me that this album, Little Fugitives, was a bit too adult contemporary for her.

Although there is little that is as studied or well produced as Ben Folds, Josh Rouse, Aimee Mann, etc. This is a lo fi, indie record. It’s just one made by a mid 40s single mother. If anything, I like it more than Til the Wheels Fall Off or Diary Of a Mod Housewife. And since there was almost nothing that changed in her approach, her voice, her sound or anything like that, it basically comes down to the songs.

Like Rasputin, the opener, is the best thing on here. As cool as early Lou Reed, she sings of Rasputin, the crazy Russian monk who could not be killed, and compares it to her love life where she keeps coming back. It’s fun, it’s cool and it sets the stage for a great record.

Another real highlight is Dancing With Joey Ramone. A garage rock-ish ode to the late singer (who died in 2001), it’s a rock ‘n’ roll daydream of the highest standard. Joey would be proud. If you love the Ramones, you would love this.

Needy Men sounds like a 50s TV theme, but dissects the kind of men that just want a new mother, with her startling wit and a cheesy smile. It’s Not Safe plays on the urgent guilt of having hurt someone. I Don’t Want To Talk About Love No More is another garage/blues influenced track that pleads for less talk, more action.

It’s her inescapable wit and her smarts that really make this album, and her career as an artist. She’s fallen in and out of love, and she gives it all back to us with Woody Allen eye for the funny and the sweet.

Which is why it’s so great that she has found happiness and from left field. Rigby, with her power pop background and US roots, met Wreckless Eric, the Stiff records stalwart who was living in France. I love both artists, and followed their lives in songs. They fell in love and got married, and released their first album as a duo in 2008.

So two of the biggest losers in love found eachother. This makes me so happy. Happy that Wreckless Eric did go the whole wide world to find her. And that if there’s hope for Amy Rigby, there is hope for everyone.

(again, no videos)

100 for 2000 – #54. Josh Rouse – Nashville

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #4. Josh Rouse – Nashville

I had loved Josh Rouse’s last album, 1972. I loved that album so much that initially, I was cold to this album. But that opinion’s now changed. I now think Nashville is my fave Josh Rouse album.

My initial reservations came from a return to the melancholy of his pre 1972 work. I like those albums a lot, but the fun Rouse was having on 1972 really breathed life into his music. So, yes, he returned to downbeat balladry, but he kept the bag of tricks he learnt from 1972. The colourful production, the keyboards, the harmonies all live on. But he really upped the emotional power.

There is a batch of songs that he still plays live, and they make up the core of this record. It’s the Nighttime is sexy and seductive, and a great opening track. And in a great Rouse-esque twist, he suggests trying on his partner’s clothes. Streetlights is a stilted conversation with an old friend. And then there’s the huge Sad Eyes, that builds from a piano tinkle to the most orchestrated thing he’s ever done.

But it’s My Love Is Gone that really kills me. Rouse doesn’t really say much about his private life, but this album turned out to be a goodbye to his home of Nashville, and to his wife. Next time we see him, he would have a new life (and sound) in Spain. And My Love Is Gone is his most direct song of loss.

Continuing what Songs For Silverman and my love of Paul Simon built on, Nashville never loses control. Even though the songs are filled with sadness and regret, the approach is professional. And sounds like a million bucks.

I have seen Rouse live a few times, and it’s always the songs from this album that shines the brightest. Taking away from the genre exercise of 1972, he just came out with his best songs.

The last word comes from Life, the last track on the record. Reminiscent of the last track on another Nashville named album – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You. Not that it’s a love song, but it’s an extremely talented musician just knocking a whistling tune. It finally opens up the album to a bit of fun, a bit of a smile and a bit of air.

(No videos for this album?)

100 for 2000 – #53. Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #3. Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm

Concept records. What a weird term. Are there concept books? Concept movies? Concept paintings? It’s only music that sometimes gets tagged with concepts. Aimee Mann’s The Forgotten Arm is a concept record, and it’s great! Why do people not like these things? Because there’s no other album like this.

Meet John. Meet Caroline. We will be getting to know them. We discover John was a boxer and a Vietnam vet. He has a gal, Caroline. They try to escape in a car together, traveling through America. They break up, they drink, they cry, and then they get back together.

What’s not to like about a story like that? Best thing about it though, is that it’s not a story that is TOLD. Aimee Mann wrote brilliant characters and songs in the 3rd person her whole life. She just brought that idea to a logical conclusion.

This album is a thrill to piece together. In King Of the Jailhouse, track 2, when our new friends hit the road, there is a feeling of joy, but tempered with such a slow tempo song. It makes the image of their car pulling into the highway seem like slow motion.

They break up somewhere, and track 6, She Really Wants You, details John’s waiting around for a phone call. It’s a great song, and like all the songs on here, it easily survives on it’s own.

The record ends, as it should, with a track called Beautiful. It’s maybe the most affectionate song that Aimee Mann’s ever wrote. It’s uncynical and lovely, and a great ending to the story. And album.

We don’t learn much about these two. They are just boy and girl. And that is their story – Aimee Mann’s dissecting a relationship with her sharp eye. To mix film terms, the concept is actually a macguffin to my favourite, and most Aimee Mann-ish, of Aimee Mann albums.

It’s also produced beautifully by Joe Henry. A deliberate 70s vibe pervades the record. It’s bass heavy, the keyboards hum, and it’s smooth. It’s such a great sound, and much warmer than she usually gets.

So I love this idea. It gives me a real reason to listen to an album start to finish. Not just random tracklistings. I don’t understand why anyone is so cold to concept records.

100 for 2000 – #52. Modern Giant – Satellite Nights

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #2. Modern Giant – Satellite Nights

I have given myself over to music. It’s my life, and I listen to music all the time. It permeates my life. So it’s paradoxical that those life changing music moments come so few and far between. But had I not listened to so much music, I might not have found this. And Modern Giant definitely were life changing. They only made one album – Satellite Nights.

That life changing moment came from a link. That was all. People send links all time about music. I think it might have been a MySpace. The song was The Band’s Broken Up. It was like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

Some songs you can relate to. Some songs ARE you. The Band’s Broken Up is pretty close to the latter. It’s got the look of a jangly pop song, but it’s mainly spoken word. And that word is in such a charming Australian accent. And then a rousing chorus.

But it’s the song matter that really hits home. It’s actually Adam’s life. Opening with the spoken refrain of “Midnight Oils, the Hummingbirds, the Clash”, we go on a journey of watching little gigs on your own, to going to parties where bands played in living rooms, to meeting girls who held such promise. We move onto regret about not learning guitar, moving overseas, coming back, hitting it off with a girl and how, in a brilliant finale, the band we saw that night has now broken up.

And it’s not like it’s some super long narrative. It’s all in this one pop song, running a little over four and a half minutes.

So it’s not Midnight Oils, the Hummingbirds or, really, the Clash that are my three bands, but they are just totems for what this song is about. The song mentions the suburb of Annandale, whereas I spent more time in Newtown parties. But if the facts are wrong, the feeling is so right. I went to those gigs. I watched those girls walked passed me. And sometimes I got it right. Even the part about going overseas has come true, and I’m sure that bit about coming home will too.

Midnight Oils, the Hummingbirds and the Clash also really neatly sums up Modern Giant. The Band’s Broken Up comes from a long, but obscured, history of Australian pub rock bands doing a spoken word song, as summed up by the Oils. And there’s an Australian feel to them, especially the beach. The trippy guitars on a track like Hell Is Other People is very Midnight Oils, and very Australian rock.

But they aren’t a rock band. There is huge dollops of pop, and in a strummy, indie, British way. And the Australian band the Hummingbirds sums that up (the guitarist from the Hummingbirds, Simon Holmes, produced the record). And it was by no means all spoken word. Guitarists Andy Meehan and Gynia Favot both sang. And having a female voice is the quick shorthand to the kind of pop band this was (ie the Hummingbirds). I Thought You Were Somebody Else is as big a lovely sugar rush as any pop song this decade.

And then there’s the Clash. Not that they wrote punk anthems. No. But they did a DIY ethic. Just like a man years later would declare Joe Strummer was our only decent teacher, so was this band enthralled by the right principles of DIY. They made all their own t-shirts and bags with cool logos. I still have my bag, even here in London.

So I loved the band, as I do when it’s love, basically followed the band around. I offered to sell t-shirts for them a few times, got to know some of the guys quite well. The bands I played in, we played a lot with Modern Giant. They were almost the only band in Sydney I waned to play with.

They put out an EP on their own. All the songs on that EP would appear on Satellite Nights. It came out on a friend’s label – Popboomerang – a great pop label. Their owner, Scott, reckons I passed him the music, which is nicely full circle.

This is such a long piece anyway, so I had better stop. The rest is a story for another time and another forum. Another EP followed. A mutual crush on Angie Hart. My love for I’m Not Broken. How I played bass and keyboards. A drunken birthday in Paris.

Sadly though, the band has broken up.

100 for 2000 – #51. Ben Folds – Songs For Silverman

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #1. Ben Folds – Songs For Silverman

I adore this Songs For Silverman, beyond all sense. It’s by no means the best album Ben Folds has put his name to. Yet, it is miles away my favourite. I would not recommend anyone start with Ben folds on this record. Yet I love it. It feels like it’s made for me. I fell in love with this album in 2005 and have carried it with me closely ever since. Several of the songs on here are the highest played songs on my iPod!

Not that I wouldn’t have bought this album anyway, as I am a big fan of Folds, but this album came with no expectations from me. I had heard there’s a new record coming out. I had heard the single (Landed) and thought it was pretty nice. But at the time I was listening to A LOT of adult pop. I was utterly obsessed with Paul Simon’s solo work. I loved Simon’s reserved character, and how he let the songs speak without putting on a passionate voice or demeanor (the opposite of the tortured artist schtick of Ryan Adams).

So in 2005, I listened to this record, those early Paul Simon records and that year’s Aimee Mann record (will be talked about later). And they all share that trait. No show-boating. Which is big for Folds, because high energy and humour are two things that helped make his career. His last hit had been Rockin’ the Suburbs.

That no showboating, unsentimental feel of this record pretty much summed up those years for me as well. I was getting over things, and moving on. A lot of the fire I had in my early 20s were going out. But it also meant I stopped feeling bad about some stuff. And feeling bad about things is not something that happens on this record.

The characters that populate the songs on this album have it hard, but Folds is offering them little comfort or empathy. The from the old man in Bastard to the young couple in You To Thank, Folds gives you their story, the inevitable ending and leaves it at that. And if you are to look at these characters as part of Folds himself (dangerous ground, I know), then he is playing both the has-been and the young naive fool in a doomed relationship.

It was not until years later that Folds said that this was a break-up album, as he divorced his wife after this album. But it’s actually one step more – it’s a moving on album. Give Judy My Notice, the centerpiece heart of the record, is simply that – a guy saying to his girl that he’s not going to be around anymore.

It all ends in a glorious, laid back, mid tempo climax of my three favourite Ben Folds songs ever. I have listened to these three songs many, many times.

Sentimental Guy, third last on the album, is another goodbye song – but Folds is looking back at the past and wonders why he doesn’t miss it more. Brilliant, subtle, songwriter-y images flood the song, and the melody lifts at the end… god it’s great. My fave of the three.

Time, the second last track on the album is regretful but damning. A song to an ex-lover, giving them the blessing to crucify your memory, both in her head and to her friends. But how they both know it’s not the whole truth. It’s up there with the great fuck yous of early Bob Dylan, but done in a more gentlemanly manner, and with a killer piano hook.

Finally, Prison Food. There is much less going on here lyrically, but it’s a hypnotic rush. It’s got a huge Floyd like middle bit that rushed through like a plane engine of harmonies. It’s some mumbo jumbo about walking the earth and being alone. It certainly sounds like a big existential point, and it’s the right way to end such a personal record.

But there are other songs apart from the relationships and characters. Gracie, the lightest moment on the record, is written for his daughter. Yet, compared with other pop treats in this man’s catalogue, it’s incredibly spare. Then there’s Late, a tribute to the late Elliott Smith. Even Fold’s take on that is down to earth and drama-less.

I mean, for fuck’s sake. How many other albums can you think of that has a black and white cover? That’s the mood we are working in.

I love the other songs I haven’t mentioned but that would just be listing, wouldn’t it? But I do have to say, the music and production are typically awesome. Folds has lost none of his melodic gifts. His songs are just as interesting and well built as always. It certainly beats the college rock shine of his last record.

So what so great about a musician keeping his emotions in check? I don’t know. I know it’s not a popular view. But sometimes I don’t want drama. As much as I love Thunder Road, I realise I’m not the guy in that song. But I feel like I’m the people on this record, and these kinds of records. It’s like, sometimes I just want to watch something that’s two people I can relate to talking to eachother for a long time. Put the spaceships away.

These are every day songs. To paraphrase a friend, these songs are like those reliable socks. Not flashy, but they are well made and you get something out of them in ordinary situations. I still look for records like these, because I can always do with more socks.

100 for 2000 – #50. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2004 – #10. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand

I try to keep up with hype, if only to have an opinion. Seems like the early part of the 00s was full of hype records, and in Sydney at least, the spectre of the NME loomed large. As years passed and history took perspective, that ‘new rock’ revival can be appreciated in different terms. Band such as Cooper Temple Clause and Von Bondies fall into obscurity. And this album, the self titled debut by Franz Ferdinand, still sounds great – truly a classic of the era.

So this record hit the stratosphere, but it’s interesting to note that there is only one hit single. Take Me Out, a song that was tainted by over-exposure, but is now easing back into it’s place as a classic single. People will be dancing to this song for decades to come.

And it’s not the only great song on here. The other singles – Darts Of Pleasure, Michael and especially Dark Of the Matinee – are all great. There is something seedy, something tense going on. The excitement of dancing, of a night that could go anywhere (the darker side of which is explored on their new album). And yes, some songs like This Fire are a bit clumsy (what a terrible lyric, why did they keep ending shows with this?) but they were striving to be different. It was a Bowie/disco kind of sleaze.

Of course, this all came from the head. Franz Ferdinand are at art school band and everything has been thought out. From the cool imagery in their film clips, the minimal album cover… you can see they’ve studied the history. And I like art bands. I love a band that thinks about their album covers. Pity they dropped the awesome idea, bandied around for their second album, of naming it Franz Ferdinand again, and just changing the colours on cover of this album.

So, for an album that very much captured a moment, it’s transcended that moment quite well. Having survived the hype and come out the other side, I assume I will be with this band for at least a few more records to come.

100 for 2000 – #49. Dallas Crane – Dallas Crane

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2004 – #9. Dallas Crane – Dallas Crane

It seems like every batch of ten, there is at least one album that makes this list in retrospect. Most of the albums either were, or just missed out on being in my top tens of that year. Then there are albums like the self titled second record by Dallas Crane, that years later I have decided is brilliant. How the hell did I miss it?

My own prejudice really. It’s because Dallas Crane were one of the greatest live bands in Australia at the time. And like a lot of live bands I enjoyed, especially in classic Australian rock mode, I don’t care for their records. The first Dallas Crane record summed it up quite nicely – great live, but not great on record.

So it’s the beauty of modern listening that I had these songs on a harddrive, and three of my favourites on my iPod. Over the years, on shuffle or whatever, those three tracks would come on. They were Dirty Hearts, Iodine and Can’t Work You Out.

And they are three blisteringly great rock songs.

The guitar interplay (the band used to do a note prefect, 11 minute cover of Television’s Marquee Moon) and Dave Larkin’s awesome vocal chops made for fun live, and sounded pretty great on record too. One would come on, and I would have to listen to the others. On repeated listens, I decided to finally dig out the tracks on my hard drive and complete my album.

Those first three songs (also the first three songs on the album’s running order) still rule, but the rest of the album is great. I finally noticed it was produced by Wayne Connolly, one of Australia’s finest ‘straight’ producers. He really captures performances and lets natural sounds shine.

And the rest of this album gave me another handful of great Dallas Crane rockers, the best of which is Wrong Party, that I remember from seeing these guys live. But it also gave me some ballads, such as the touching Open To Close.

More interesting is the lyrics. Above and beyond the standard rock fare. Iodine opens with the stunning image – I dreamt a poet fall out of the sky – and goes into some weird Leonard Cohen fantasy land. I mean, yeah, there are plenty albums with better lyrics, but at least the songs don’t have interchangeable lyrics, as so many records on the Alberts label tends to do.

The other thing to be said for this record is that I still kind of don’t like these kind of albums. Not to listen to, and I prefer records over live shows. I like listening on headphones, sitting or lying down. But now there is a new place for me to listen to music, which is walking. And this kind of rock record is great for that. I don’t really listen to this record at home. Even sitting here, typing this, and putting this record on – feels jarring somehow.

So, Apple’s Ipod. For all it’s revolutionary elements, it also revolutionised my music tastes. I now have a time and place for music without introspection. And Dallas Crane are the first beneficiaries. Pity that, from what I can tell online, this band is actually no more.

100 for 2000 – #48. The Finn Brothers – Everyone Is Here

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2004 – #8. The Finn Brothers – Everyone Is Here

I am a big fan of everything Tim and/or Neil Finn. I’ve loved their work together on Woodface, Split Enz and the one other Finn Brothers album, titled Finn. But Finn was a low key stop gap release, whereas Everyone Is Here was a big deal, a potential hit record.

It had really been years since either Finn brother had a big chart hit, or even tried. Tim had made some great but decidedly quirky, challenging albums in the 00s, and Neil surely could not expect the electro-tinged Rest Of the Day Off to be a hit.

And so it was with much fanfare (in fan circles) that the Finn brothers were writing together, and were working with old Crowded House producer Mitchell Froom and Bowie producer Tony Visconti (also in there at some places was my hero Jon Brion).

It was their most commercial venture in years. The album was so great, and in such a commercial way, I really don’t understand why this didn’t sell a bazillion copies. This should have been the album that people who didn’t buy albums went out and bought.

Won’t Give In was the first single, and it was as graceful and magical as anything Neil Finn has ever put his name to. As was the album itself. Luckiest Man Alive, with it’s hallelujah chorus (and about a genuine new love in his life), was Tim Finn’s best song since the Say It Is So album.

But it was a true collaboration. An unused bit of verse by Tim, dating back to Split Enz days, was finally finished when Neil added his fantastic chorus to Edible Flowers. Even a true stalwart fan like me has trouble trying to work out who wrote the touching Disembodied Voices, a song about the conversations in the dark that the two had as children.

There is a reason that the Finn Brothers work, and it’s because they flatten out eachothers eccentricities, and allows them to focus on their might songwriting skills. Tim powers down his frenetic art school energies. Neil Finn leaves his melancholy in check. And what we are left with is great adult pop such as Nothing Wrong With You.

But why the brothers work so great apart is also on here, on the last track. Essentailly a solo Neil Finn performance, Gentle Hum is strange, startling and ultimately lovely piano piece.

There was a great tour to support this album, when anything was up for grabs – Split Enz, Crowded House, solo hits and more. And when Paul Hester died, they did a show at the Enmore Theatre that was emotional, but also shambolic and uncharacteristically terrible – they had been shaken. But months later, they did a two night stand at the Sydney Opera House where they came back even stronger.

This is a great record, and I hope it’s not the last. Even if it’s ten years in between each one, I hope these two guys get together every so often and gives us some more songs, and do that great back catalogue tour again.