Leave it to a Kiwi to produce the perfect soundtrack to our troubling times. Neil has been a favorite for many years now — from his musical meanderings with brother Tim in the artsy and rambunctious New Wave powerhouse of Split Enz to his own immensely successful (and immensely wonderful) Crowded House, to several brilliant solo albums, his 7 Worlds Collide projects and the warm brotherly love and playful affection in his recordings with Tim as Finn Brothers. He’s New Zealand’s elder statesman, an inspirational songsmith and along with brother Tim, was bestowed with an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for their contribution to the music of New Zealand. So yes, it’s actually quite a big deal that Neil has a new album out.

Dizzy Heights is aptly named. It seems like a deeply personal album — moody, contemplative and self-reflective, though from a great distance looking down and through a gauze curtain. There’s a dreamy, ambient feel through the entire album with richly layered sounds and a vaguely unsettling undercurrent. Ok, maybe at times not so vague. But though “Better Than TV” seems to be his realization of his own mortality (and accompanying panic), there’s a glimmer of hope in the awakening.

“Come on baby I want your love to be
based in real life better than TV
what was before the action of desire
becomes a deeper need for comfort, inspiration
you have the mind for understanding pain
somehow to realise no trouble is in vain
it’s a reason for and how it came to pass
if there is a chance if there is a chance
that you wanted to dance, that you wanted to sing
don’t die wondering,
was there something missing?”
– Better Than TV

“Seagulls sometimes need to find a perch, to have a quiet moment on their own after a big night out ….Flying In The Face Of Love.” – Neil Finn.

“It’s a curious sound
bone collectors rustling leaves on their knees
Many poets in this town
Look high and low for feelings that come and go
Sweeping the past out of their windows and doors
Well I’m not so humble but I’m always on time
Believing what is left behind
all the shades and echoes of my life
are in my blood”
– In My Blood

Dizzy Heights was recorded at Neil’s Roundhead Studios and Tarbox Road Studios in upstate New York with co-producer Dave Fridmann (Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips). At first listen, I’d have to say that it’s a complex and beautiful masterpiece. As Sir Neil himself states (I’m guessing he probably either hates or giggles uncontrollably at that title), “I didn’t want to make it a solo record in a stripped back singer-songwriter sort of way…I had a feeling Dave would be good at adding some odd shapes to the music, which I always welcome–making things a little more expansive. He is good at subverting things, and making things sound a bit messed up and not as obvious…” Rather like life itself, eh?

Track listing: Impressions / Dizzy Heights / Flying In The Face of Love / Divebomber / Better Than TV / Pony Ride / White Lies and Alibis / Recluse / Strangest Friends / In My Blood / Lights of New York

Upcoming Shows

with guest Midlake (acoustic)
4/7 – Boston, MA, Shubert Theatre
4/8 – New York, NY, Town Hall
4/10 – New Haven, CT, Shubert Theatre
4/11 – Glenside (Philadelphia), PA, Keswick Theatre
4/12 – Washington, DC, Lincoln Theatre

UK, Ireland, Europe – 4/23 – 5/11
Dubai, UAE – 5/15

web | facebook | twitter | youtube | FRENZ Fan Site – for all things “Finn” | order “Dizzy Heights” on iTunes

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