As memorable as his 10 years with Crowded House might have been (not to mention his tenure with New Zealand's favorite sons, Split Enz), Neil Finn is nearly forgotten in America. Two classic singles, "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong," are all that remain of Crowded House in the collective pop-music consciousness. A transitional collaboration with brother Tim (simply titled Finn Brothers) surfaced after Crowded House split up in 1996. But after a greatest hits collection, Finn's career seemed to indeed be over.
"Try Whistling This" resurrects the more ambitious spirit of Finn's songwriting. Sprucing up his compositions with a weathered sense of poetic optimism, Finn finds a welcome home in the incidental noises and barbs of a delightfully skewed production. "She Will Have Her Way" reclaims Finn's penchant for neo-psychedelia. The subtle "Truth" slides through its wizened message -- truth is better than pride -- with selfless benevolence.
Finn's new album creates a shapeless, warm feeling that lingers -- and a new respect for a familiar voice.