How do Tim Finns songs compare to those of his brother Neil, his on-and-off colleague for 30 years through Split Enz, Crowded House, and duo projects? Tims music is, um . . . well, there are three modes Neils never worked in but Tim has, at least in his Enz days: vaudevillian camp (My Mistake), verge-of-tears theatrical emotionalism (I Hope I Never), and brittle Eurodisco (I Dont Wanna Dance). See where Im going with this? Its hard to think of many other straight artists whove as unabashedly or comfortably borrowed (as I read it) a gay sensibility (filmmaker Guy Maddin is one, maybe). Tims most recent album, Imaginary Kingdom, though, mostly sets all that asideexcept for the emotionalism, as in the nostalgic Astounding Moon or the piano-driven, string-cushioned Winter Light, because thats one thing his voice does really well. He often writes songs for himself at the top of his range, and that trembling, vulnerable vocal strain is practically a Tim trademark. Like Neils recent Crowded House offering Time on Earth, Imaginary Kingdoms tone is mostly elegiac, with only a couple of up-tempo numbers; the most fun is Couldnt Be Done, with its loping, effortless, Calypso-style catchiness. With Miranda Lee Richards. GAVIN BORCHERT
Listen to a sample of Tim Finn's "Couldn't Be Done Demo."
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