Saturday, December 22, 2007

Crowded House - Temple of Low Men

I’m not a great fan of Crowded House but one has to acknowledge Neil Finn as one of the most talented song writers to come out of NZ. My girlfriend doesn’t speak English, but she loves this record.

Crowded House is a rock and pop group formed in Melbourne, Australia, and led by New Zealand musician and singer-songwriter Neil Finn. Finn is widely recognised as the primary songwriter and creative direction of the band, having led it through several incarnations, drawing members from New Zealand (Neil Finn, Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner), Australia (Paul Hester, Nick Seymour, Peter Jones and Craig Hooper) and United States (Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod).

The group had important connections in the Australian and New Zealand rock scenes. Neil Finn and Paul Hester were former members of the New Zealand rock band Split Enz; Neil is the younger brother of Split Enz founding member Tim Finn. Nick Seymour is the younger brother of singer-songwriter-guitarist Mark Seymour, leader of the now defunct Australian rock group Hunters & Collectors.

Temple of Low Men was released to great fanfare in 1988 along with the single "Better Be Home Soon," which reached #42 in the US. Other highlights of this album were "Into Temptation" and "Sister Madly", the latter evolving into a fan favourite sing-along when played in concert. Although critics were impressed, the album was not as well received commercially as their debut. As a contrast to the debut album, the first single "Better Be Home Soon" was an acoustic song which performed moderately on the charts, though the following four singles from the album all failed to chart altogether, and through the low single impact, album sales were not as successful as the debut. The label quickly pulled promotion for the album yet again, and Crowded House performed a short tour of Australia and Canada. Supertramp member and multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart then accompanied the band from January 1989 as a tour performer, taking Eddie Rayner's place. In early 1989, following a short tour by the group to support their second album, Finn removed Seymour from the lineup. In 2007, he discussed this on Andrew Denton's Enough Rope, commenting that he had fired him because of artistic differences. After a month, Seymour initiated contact and the two agreed to have him return to the group. Following this, the group decided to take a break before re-entering the studio for their third album.

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