It would be easy for Neil Finn to play it safe, to crank out generic middle of the road material that would keep his audience sated. Instead Finn has continued to push the boundaries, to push his sensibilities and his writing, his new album Dizzying Heights sees Finn do just that. He takes his music to the atmosphere, quite dense musically with strings and synth invocations and layered vocals. Impressions is ominous but at once it's also an affirmation that Finn isn't playing it safe,
In this trouble, also around us
Still you found disconnection
But it's not good luck for anyone
To play at being dumb
Got no plans for the future, or a change
I got to make good impressions
And it's all arranged
Feel the sky tremble when you call my name
The title track is a highlight, a relaxed groove and a more optimistic tone "if you don't like the sound call the cops". It's a Saturday night song, drifting through the city looking for that spot that will take you to the dizzy heights. Flying in the Face of Love is more desultory, more in keeping with Finn's sombre latter day Crowded House songs, the aching nature of love revealed and exposed. Divebomber is intense, very layered strings, the falsetto vocal echoes a resigned sense of doom, the military style drums and intermittent war plane drones add to the sense of drama. Better than TV is a lament at the superficiality of our world, our tendency to get carried away in reality TV. Pony Ride has a sound circa The Beatles Revolver, it's more uptempo with the guitars more prominent. Recluse drags things back to a more solid feet on the ground approach, Finn is at his best when he is questioning and exploring he is a lyricist of great insight.
Dizzy Heights won't appeal to all but it's an album deserving of a listen, it's a surprise it's Finn extending himself and not playing it safe when he could all so easily do that.