Neil Finn One Nil

[EMI; 2000]

Styles: singer/songwriter, alternative rock
Others: The Beatles, Paul Weller, Sheryl Crow

Along with a million other Aussies, Neil Finn is one of those brilliant songwriters that we like to claim as being our own. However the glory of the Finn family (Neil, Tim and little Liam) unfortunately belongs to New Zealand along with the likes of Russel Crowe and The Lord of the Rings Film.

Rubbishy, patriotic banter aside, what this album offers is a clear cut of Neil Finns capabilities for the contemporary world. Most would agree that Crowded House was a fantastic band for its time, even today, holding immense popularity. Neil's second solo outing reveals an emotional and theological journey. The overwhelming feeling of simplicity is enveloped by a sense of  spirituality in lines like, "Everything is in the balance of a moment I cant control," from "Anytime." The feeling washes through sublimely, also reflected in the beautifully crafted track "Secret God." What we hear is the emotions of  a content, middle-aged man who is somewhat of a guru in creating songs that refresh and renew you. The lyrics are beautifully poetic, inspired by the elements and human nature (by mentioning Human Nature, I am most certainly not referring to that god-awful boy band).

In essence, its a driving album for long trips. Although there's nothing strikingly new or original about it, its universal appeal tugs at you. The songs are consistently well crafted with embellishments in the form of strings, the celeste and Sheryl Crows accordion. The only track that I feel ruins the albums perfect placing is "Elastic Heart." The transition that Neil makes to contemporary music is successful in its proudly poppy outlook, however the quest for originality in this song is overdone. Like a charred steak, the whole meal isn't quite as good, even if you are having a glass of Penfolds. "Elastic Heart" is lost and rambling and an unwelcome stranger on  One Nil, its aim is better attempted in "Hole in the Ice." Its best ignored so that you can enjoy the true essence of what Neil is driving at. There are no real stand-out tracks and most are as good as the next. If a solid and content album is what you're after, I'd recommend you stick to this catchy little baby. His songs will stick in your head for weeks afterwards. Fucking Neil Fin.

1. The Climber
2. Rest of the Day Off
3. Hole in the Ice
4. Wherever You Are
5. Last to Know
6. Don't Ask Why
7. Secret God
8. Turn and Run
9. Elastic Heart
10. Anytime
11. Driving Me Mad
12. Into the Sunset

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