Picks and Pans Review: Together Alone

updated 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Crowded House

Neil Finn, the New Zealand-born leader of Crowded House, is a maddening songwriter at times. He can achieve bits of pop-rock perfection like the 1987 hit "Don't Dream It's Over," and then he can stumble, as he has on the group's new album.

Since their emergence seven years ago, Finn and his mates have often been likened to the Beatles for their vocal harmonies and the unexpected textural touches in their music. (Here they employ Cook Island log drummers, a Maori choir and even a brass band to augment their guitar sound.) Despite Finn's usual gift for melody, however, the first half of the album is filled with tunes that meander along with no apparent destination. When the album does produce some real excitement (like the catchy rocker "Locked Out") or a memorable melody ("Walking on the Spot"), the band's potential becomes as obvious as its shortfall this Lime around. (Capitol)

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