With the heavy lifting of the Crowded House reunion out of the way, Neil Finn is able to settle into comfortable craft on Intriguer, the bands sixth album. Intriguer isnt as self-consciously weighty as Time on Earth -- Finn is not tackling mortality in the wake of the death of his longtime friend and bandmate Paul Hester -- but its also not as hazy as Finns pair of solo LPs. In tone and timbre, its closest to the second Finn Brothers album, the ruminative Everyone Is Here, but it lacks the reflective undertow of that 2004 album; it may be subdued, but its not reveling in its melancholy, its riding a gentle wave, swaying from song to song. Sometimes the tempo gets slightly heated -- Inside Out works a nicely grinding guitar riff, Saturday Sun pulsates to an electronic rhythm -- but the album doesnt command attention so much as it teases it. This light touch suits Finns songs; hes favoring subtle craftsmanship over immediate hooks, so it only fits that the mood of Intriguer is soothing, something that pays off great dividends upon close listens. It may not be flashy but its sturdy and expertly honed, reflecting Finns craftsmanship on a song-by-song basis but holding together better as an album than any Finn project in recent memory. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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