Neil Finn - Dizzy Heights
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Collaborating with Dave Fridmann, a producer who made his reputation through his work with neo-psychedelic bands Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips, Finn luxuriates within the fathomless spaciness of Dizzy Heights. Effects and sounds bubble up and fade away and, initially, it's hard not to concentrate on these shifting soundscapes, not because they're foreign to Finn - ever since the initial disbandment of Crowded House he's been increasingly restless and experimental - but because the production is as focused and precise as his songcraft. This is a new development. Usually, whenever Finn indulged in spacy, elastic psychedelia the results were pleasingly hazy, but here every electromagnetic throb and aural shard is in its right place, heightening the overall effect and, occasionally, distracting from the typically finely constructed tunes. Underneath the aural lava lamp, Finn is taking compositional risks, too: the title track is underpinned with smooth soul, "Divebomber" unfurls into an ominous march, and "White Lies and Alibis" has a tension within its structure in addition to its skittering, skeletal production.