Crowded House, "Intriguer"

85 Billboard Rating

The urgent rocker "Saturday Sun" is a rousing, if somewhat misleading, way to open Crowded House's sixth studio album. A collection of moody, meditative numbers that gradually reveals its charms after successive spins, "Intriguer" feels far removed from the more radio-ready fare of the band's early years. But that'll suit frontman Neil Finn's core fan base just fine, particularly those who treasure his introspective solo work and his Finn Brothers projects with sibling Tim. "Archer's Arrows" throbs with righteous anger, while songs like "Falling Dove," "Twice If You're Lucky" and "Even If" evoke a sense of yearning and loss, without veering toward despair. And on the standout track "Isolation," Finn duets with his wife, Sharon, for a subdued meditation on solitude before the whole thing gives way to a cathartic fade-out featuring stinging guitar lines from son Liam. Through it all, Finn's durable songcraft never fails to enthrall.

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