Sat July 10, Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $27.50.
"Voices in your head still carry on the tune. "
That FIrst line, from a track called "Nothing Wrong with You," could describe any number of songs the Finn brothers have planted in our brains over their long careers. Together as members of Split Enz and Crowded House, Tim and his younger brother Neil (who joined Tim's band Split Enz at the tender age of 18) have created such memory-defining tunes as the Enz's Sparks-influenced "I Got You," "History Never Repeats," and the infamous "Six Months in a Leaky Boat"--which came out during the Falklands War just as a few ships had sunk and so was banned by the BBC.
During their heyday, the Enz never found much success, save for cult status in the U.S. (despite early production help from Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music, another group that strongly influenced them), so they broke up and Neil formed Crowded House. That band debuted with the eponymous titled album that yielded not only the arguably sappy "Don't Dream It's Over," but the joyfully hooky, jangle-filled "Something So Strong." Tim rejoined his brother half a decade later on Woodface, and their powerful harmonies made for a soaring, beautiful reunion that lent us "Fall at Your Feet."
The Finn brothers eventually went their own ways with their own careers. Neil enjoyed the most notoriety with his solo projects and his 2002 collaborative effort 7 Worlds Collide, a collection of live material taken from a series of concerts with big names filling out his band--former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien and drummer Phil Selway, Soul Coughing bassist Sebastian Steinberg, Lisa Germano on keyboards and violin, and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. The album offered a memorable, though not exactly stellar, rendition of "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out," performed by Finn and Marr, as well as a dream realized for Vedder as he covered the Split Enz tune "Stuff and Nonsense."
Everyone Is Here reunites the siblings as the Finn Brothers, and it's nothing less than beautiful. The album has a timeless, lush sound that should appeal to fans of the brothers' earlier bands and, as Neil told me from his home in New Zealand, hopefully should provide inspiration for more harmony-laden pop from current and future acts.
Take the song "Homesick," for example. "I'm really fond of that [one]," says Finn. "It's got a good sense of mood. It's got a driving, upbeat [sound]. The song was originally about being homesick in your own town. But people were saying, especially in America at the start of the Iraq war, that it didn't feel like home to be in their own country, that it felt like there were weird forces at work. That wasn't the only motivation for the song, but it can convey that sentiment as well."
Of the new album as a whole, he says they're "singing at the top of our voices," adding, "I think that there's a vitality to it because we were dying to record after so much down time. It took a while to conclude that it was the right time to make it."
There was an earlier Finn Brothers album that came out eight years ago, but because it was written and recorded in six weeks, Finn calls it rushed, but good practice. "It's indulgent and unusual and kind of wonderful for that," he says, "but this time we wanted to take the time to get the songs really well-formed and to do the things we didn't have the opportunity to do the last time."
On this tour, the band will not only perform songs from Everyone Is Here, but some Crowded House and Split Enz tunes, too. "A well-timed request from the floor will probably be responded to, of course, but we only remember half of that stuff," Finn admits. He says the Crowded House songs will be off of Woodface because that was the beginning of the point when both brothers were in the band.
In the end, Finn just enjoys turning young pop lovers on to older bands in the same genre. "The way Everyone Is Here sounds contemporary with the strings and the melodies going on [gives it a current sound]," he comments. "Everything has a way of coming back around, I guess."