He's got the knowing grin and disassembled hair of a "quirky, whacky" type, but few could spend a little time with Neil Finn's tunes without realising that under the off-centre exterior lies a delicate heart. Being weighted down with the dubious honour of being, pre-Lorde, New Zealand's most successful international artist means we tend to think of the upbeat Crowded House crowd pleasers rather than the almost mystical slowburners that wind their way from Finn's pen.
"Together Alone" seemed to capture a mood that wouldn't re-emerge so fully formed until "Time on Earth". The influence of Kare Kare as a recording environment, and Youth as crazed knob twiddler may have had something to do with it, but there's a dark depth here, lyrically anyway, that was a welcome riposte to the spiky blond hair of "Something So Strong". Lyrically, Neil Neil Orange Peel was on fire.
"Colour is its own reward"
A phenomenal line in a wonderful song, "Fingers of Love."
"Can you imagine that
An itch too sensitive to scratch?
The light that falls through the cracks
An insect too delicate to catch
I hear the endless murmur
Every blade of grass that shivers in the breeze
And the sound that comes to carry me
Across the land and over the sea..."
Divine stuff. Seek it out, if you only know how to wave your Samsung to "Weather With You". This is a seam that will suffer endless mining. Rich beyond compare.