As the rest of the live music-starved world looked on, clips from Crowded House’s recent tour of New Zealand went viral. For the band, however, this was no nose-thumbing vanity tour: Neil Finn & co were gearing up for their seventh album and their first in over a decade.
This time, erstwhile Fleetwood Mac member Finn has enlisted his sons Liam and Elroy in the band he formed in 1985 – but certain trademarks of their sound remain intact, as heard on the mid-tempo acoustic swoon of Bad Times Good and the thoughtful meander through melody on Show Me the Way. The shady traipse of To the Island, meanwhile, sounds like a pandemic-inspired homage to their home country (“The world is beyond us/ It’s too enormous”).
At times, some of these well-crafted songs threaten to slip into “pleasant” territory, such as the contemplative shuffle of Too Good for This World and the dreamy canter of Goodnight Everyone. Others have more of a spark about them, perhaps betraying the influence of the younger Finns. The slouchy swagger of Playing with Fire is a highlight, as is the free-spirited, zig-zagging pop of Whatever You Want and the upbeat 1970s-influenced Sweettooth.
Striking a balance is always difficult, but, as as reliable as Deamers Are Waiting is, it’s more likely to sate established fans than convert a new generation.