Liam Finn – Champagne In Seashells (Transgressive)
For an example of the varied guises and stylistic diversity that Melbourne-born wunderkind Liam Finn is now capable of, one need only listen to the closing track on this excellent mini-album. Captain Cat Is Crying begins as a severe and spooked sound collage complete with a brassily-intoned narration (remnants surely from some sick old children’s programming), gradually weaning from that source with gentle vocal samples, rhythms investigated and abandoned until the base ingredients of wonderful epic slope into view. Almost imperceptibly, Finn conjures pop majesty from the merest of beginnings in a truly brilliant finish.
That’s not to decry the five songs that precede it, however, for they are imbued with wit, with honest sentiments and keening, weary pop, fuzzed to high heaven but somehow polished. The whirling organ bedding of Honest Face serves as a perfect balance to the squeaking guitar lines and stomping chorus, but it is the sound effects of waves crashing that tie the record together, remind us of the title and crystallise it as a complete work more than just a collection of songs. If these principles were applied to Finn’s next full-length release, we’d be in for a real treat.
This is out on the 21st September, and the review is in this month’s Artrocker. Which you should buy. Also, just so you know, there’s deliberately no references to Neil Finn in the review. I made the connection, but wanted to do a review that didn’t refer to it. He gets it all day I bet. More here.