Try Whistling This

Neil Finn

The WORK Group, 1998

http://www.neilfinn.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/01/1998

To the fans of Neil Finn, he not only was a founding member of the Australian band Crowded House, he was Crowded House. This could be why his first solo release, Try Whistling This, seems to have a lot of the flavor of his old band - but for those who weren't into Crowded House, this is a flavor that takes some time to get a taste for.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Finn's quirky style of pop doesn't follow any particular style. From the sparse arrangements of "Last One Standing," "Sinner" and the title track to the all-out joyful noise of "She Will Have Her Way" and "Truth," the listener is challenged at every turn by Finn.

Upon one listen, Try Whistling This might sound like a collection of Crowded House throwaways. However, the more one listens to this album, the more apparent its beauty is. The haphazard rolling of "Twisty Bass" locks a tempo into your ear, and it's hard to shake it, while songs like "Truth" and "Astro" are almost perfect candidates for radio airplay, as is "She Will Have Her Way". Only near the end of the album does the formula become a little strained; tracks like "Addicted," while solid, just tend to weaken the base of the album.

In fact, it is when Finn's music is a little more lively that Try Whistling This clicks. Tracks like "Loose Tongue" stick out in the mind more than tracks like "King Tide"; in a sense, it's almost like Finn is trying to re-create the magic of "Don't Dream (It's Over)" from his Crowded House days. It almost would have been better, in cases like this, for Finn to totally forget his part in music's history and try to carve out a new road for himself.

The only real weakness of Try Whistling This is that it's not the easiest album for new fans to approach. If you're not familiar with his past work, you're not going to get as much enjoyment out of this album on one listen. (I listened to the whole album four times before I started to appreciate many of the tracks - and I'm admittedly not a big Crowded House fan.)

Try Whistling This does solidify Finn's position as one of Australia's premiere songwriters, but the album proves that until he can appease the masses with his music, he should put any plans of world domination on hold.

Rating: B-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of The WORK Group, and is used for informational purposes only.