- by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-08-24 Label: Inertia Music / PIAS
“It’s a family affair”… Sly Stone would always come to mind when siblings, parents and children or close and distant relatives decide to make music together. Most of the time, it eventually turns into some form or other of (dis)organised chaos or just a simple vanity project.
Some turn out for the good though, and father and son Neil & Liam Finn actually manage to produce something really good with their album Lightsleeper . Many who consider themselves ‘true music’ fans will immediately scorn anything or anybody that has some connection with commercial success. In this case, probably more to do with father Neil of Split Enz, Crowded House and now a full member of Fleetwood Mac. Liam joined the fray when Crowded House reformed in the last decade as a touring member of the band. The problem I personally have with the concept pushed by such ‘true music’ lovers is that more often the general public DOES recognise quality when it hears it, and that includes all of the aforementioned bands Neil (and Liam) were members of. It really takes talent, sense, knowledge to make music that hits both marks - the music of genuine quality that at the same time is accepted by the wider audience.
On that note, I’m happy to announce that this combination of Finns (including family and friends like Mick Fleetwood and Connan Mockasin) manages to hit all the right notes again. And maybe a bit more. That sensitive Finn touch that is able to hit the right melody and harmony time and time again is fully intact here too.
This time around though, the more chirpy, poppy tone is replaced by more languid harmony and subtle electronic overtones and/or orchestral arrangements (“Hiding Place”), with occasional references to Philly Soul (“Where’s My Room”) or the island theme that runs throughout the album (the use of accordion and bouzouki on “Back To Life”). While Neil Finn is well known for his melodic command, with his contributions to Lightsleeper it seems that his son Liam will soon turn into a musical force to be reckoned with on his own.
Still, the album is not a showcase for separate talents but breathes musical unity that can sometimes only be produced by family. So, after all, it is a family affair, but like Sly’s, the one that deserves to be heard.