Following up on their 2007 release, Time On Earth - their first studio recording in fourteen years - New Zealand dream-pop auteurs Crowded House deliver Intriguer on Fantasy Records, a division of Concord Music Group. In addition to the Intriguer CD, this Special 2-disc Deluxe Edition includes a special bonus live DVD. The internationally acclaimed group begins a nationwide tour of the U.S. and Canada in support of the new album on Monday, July 12th.
Produced by Jim Scott (Wilco), Intriguer once again brings together singer/guitarist and chief songwriter Neil Finn with original Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour and keyboardist/guitarist Mark Hart, who'd been with the band from 1989 until its last days. Also on board is drummer Mark Sherrod, the relative newcomer to the family, having joined the band for the making of the aforementioned Time On Earth. Recorded at Roundhead Studios in Auckland, New Zealand, in the spring and summer of 2009, the album includes songs that "have been worked over on the road and transformed a few times, some all the way back to square one," says Finn. "It's a good place to return to from time to time."
Intriguer opens with "Saturday Sun," a track whose straightforward backbeat calls to mind the best elements of ‘60s pop. The follow-up track, "Archer's Arrows," takes a more ominous turn with the help of some carefully layered vocals and the violin work of Lisa Germano (who later reappears on the pensive "Even If").
"Falling Dove" is both melancholy and defiant, while "Isolation" derives its dreamlike sensibility from a heavy dose of guitar tremolo and the dreamlike vocals of Finn's wife, Sharon Dawn Johnson. Both of these tracks, positioned back-to-back in the sequence, benefit from the psychedelic guitar work of Liam Finn, Neil's son and longtime collaborator in the studio and onstage.
"Twice If You're Lucky" is a prime example of the aforementioned evolutionary process that left its mark on most of the songs on Intriguer. "We played an alternative version, more complex and mysterious on tour, then deconstructed back to the original, simple form in the last week of recording," Finn explains. "I am inclined to circle songs, looking for any bit of advantage I can find - a verse, a chord or a word to change."
"Elephants" is the wistful closer, driven by lush piano harmonies that seek to linger a while and take in the fleeting moment before the story comes to close.
"Intriguer is exotic in parts, traditional in origin," says Finn. "Through many a twist and turn we fashioned some drama and intrigue. You will find some threads that go back through all that history and some new discoveries as well that will need to be followed up. Its part of the continuum and it may just be the best thing we've done...until the next one."
2007's Time On Earth, turned the band on to what Finn calls "the scent of something new." Thankfully, for the rest of us, Intriguer proves the Crowded House story in many ways, is just beginning.
Don't miss Crowded House on tour!
US & Canada
Mon Jul 12 Toronto, ON Massey Hall
Tue Jul 13 Montreal, QC Metropolis
Thu Jul 15 Ottawa, ON Lebreton Flats Park
Fri Jul 16 Buffalo, NY Erie Canal Harbor
Sat Jul 17 Boston, MA House of Blues
Mon Jul 19 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Tue Jul 20 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Wed Jul 21 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Fri Jul 23 Montclair, NJ Wellmont Theatre
Sat Jul 24 Atlantic City, NJ House of Blues
Mon Jul 26 Vienna, VA Wolftrap
Wed Jul 28 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
Thu Jul 29 Miami, FL Fillmore Miami Beach
Fri Jul 30 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
Sun Aug 1 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
Mon Aug 2 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Wed Aug 4 Austin, TX Stubb's Walker Creek
Thu Aug 5 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Thu Aug 19 Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia (OPTION)
Fri Aug 20 Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia
Sun Aug 22 San Diego, CA Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay
Mon Aug 23 San Francisco, CA Warfield
Tue Aug 24 Saratoga, CA Mountain Winery
Thu Aug 26 Troutdale, OR Edgefield Amphitheater
Sat Aug 28 Seattle, WA Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
Sun Aug 29 Vancouver, BC Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Mon Aug 30 Victoria, BC Royal Theatre
Wed Sep 1 Edmonton, AB Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Thu Sep 2 Calgary, AB Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Sat Sep 4 Apple Valley, MN Zoo Amphitheater
Sun Sep 5 Chicago, IL House of Blues
Mon Sep 6 Chicago, IL House of Blues (OPTION)