Picks and Pans Review: Crowded House

updated 02/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Crowded House

Just when you thought solid melodies and precise playing were becoming obsolete—along comes this lean, three-man band (two Australians and a New Zealander). Guitarist Neil Finn and drummer Paul Hester (both formerly of the New Zealand-based Split Enz) and bassist Nick Seymour have put together a spunky debut LP that awakens memories of the Beatles' best work. In fact, Finn's caressing, sometimes searing vocals often recall John Lennon. The lead singer's eccentric phrasing and proclivity for writing about deeply personal matters—like the suicide of an aunt—are also reminiscent of the late Beatle. Finn somehow manages to set these morose topics to upbeat music and make it work. That's not to say that Crowded House doesn't turn out tunes that are just plain fun. The irresistible, harmony-packed rocker, Something So Strong, was co-written by producer Mitchell Froom, whose keyboard contributions throughout the LP add texture to the band's already rich instrumental mix. (Froom has previously worked with the Del Fuegos.) The boys in Crowded House say they spent a year holed up in a Hollywood bungalow, working and reworking demos before they felt ready to show their hand. Judging from their first release, it was time well spent. (Capitol)

WORLD SAXOPHONE QUARTET PLAYS DUKE ELLINGTON

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