CD Review of One All by Neil Finn

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One All
starstarstarstarno star Label: Nettwerk Records
Released: 2002
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Anyone into pop/rock music from the early 1980s and forward recognizes New Zealand-born Neil Finn as the voice of both Split Enz and Crowded House. On his latest solo effort, One All, Finn’s melodies are like ear candy and production as refined as white sugar without tripping over those melodies. Quite simply, Finn is one of the best pop songwriters of his generation and this collection is further proof of that.

There’s a hopeful darkness about songs like “The Climber” and “Driving Me Mad” that remind me of Lennon and McCartney. “Hole in the Ice” is a throwback to the Crowded House days, and maybe sounds a little like Squeeze. “Wherever You Are” is one of Finn’s most openly romantic pieces to date but “Lullaby Requiem” and “Human Kindness” awaken the darkness again. “Turn and Run” and “Secret God” are the only real stumbling blocks to an otherwise brilliant piece of work. The punchy “Anytime” is sort of morbid yet catchy as they come, and you can see by now this is Finn’s personality stamp. “Rest of the Day Off” will stick in your head for days.

You can hear the Beatles influences in a lot of Finn’s work, from his own Lennon-esque vocals to the crunching guitars to the sweet balance of melody and harmony. But it’s still a sound completely his own, and if you’re into solid songwriting, One All is comfort food for the ears.

~Mike Farley