Brothers in arms
Mere months after the ALT album and gigs with Andy White and Liam O Maonlai, Tim Finn has launched another non-Crowded House project, this time reuniting him with his brother, Neil. Brian Donaldson previews their Glasgow
Sometime in the darker recesses of the |98()s. Annie and Aretha put out the clarion call for sisters to do it for themselves. Brothers. meanwhile. have been and continue to do it with themselves. A musical arch can be followed from the sweet. sweet harmonics of the Everlys through to the gin 'n‘ toxic Gallagher boys. Somewhere in between can be found the ultimate sibling supergroup. the Jacksons and the New Romantic Kray twins.
Antipodcan recording studios have been no stranger to this movement. as witnessed in the careers of Neil and Tim Finn. Since the 1970s. the two New Zealanders have sought success individually and in tandem via complex and intertwining avenues.
The driving force is Tim. the elder by six years. lmmersing himself in the Auckland art scene. he formed Split Enz. later to be joined by Neil. A frustrated Tim left to seek solo glories while Neil called it a day for big brother‘s creation and formed Crowded House in I986. The two came together for the band‘s third release. Wand/21H). This persuaded them that collaboration was the way forth. as witnessed in their new record. cunnineg titled I-‘r'mr. Rumours that the screenplay of The Finn Story has been turned down by Peter Greenaway due to its over-convoluted narrative and impenetrable logic are probably untrue.
The project has been lying dormant for some time.
Didn’t you kill my brother? Nah? Must've been me, then. Finn get acquainted
‘The songs that Tim and i wrote for Wrmdfuce were originally intended for a brothers‘ album.‘ explained Finn junior. ‘The desire has been there for a long time now.‘ This feeling ofemancipation was keenly felt by Tim. who discovered and nurtured a new talent. ‘Playing the drums was it for me,‘ he enthused. ‘You are the engine. the motor, instead of this fey creature waiting to apply his tune.‘
Yet more instrumental secrets laid themselves bare before the mighty Finn. A Tongan tea-chest bass, ukeleles and an ancient Chamberlain keyboard are among the appliances used on the album.
But to what effect? The problem with Finn. as with almost all of the Finns' output is consistency. Their ability to pen a dazzling pop tune is undeniable. Offer your lobes to ‘Don‘t Dream lt‘s Over‘ from Crowded House‘s eponymous debut and the all- purpose ‘Weather With You' from Wrmdftltfe and wonder at the sublime nature of the former‘s soaraway chorus and the latter's infectious intro.
And yet. The surrounding terrain is Blandness lnc merging with lnsipid & Sons. A local comparison would be Aztec Camera and the lilting melodies we, all know Mr Roddy Frame is capable of being forced to sleep rough with the so-cailed songs of Dream/and.
For the Finns. this frustrating trend is allowed to carry on. It all starts prornisingly enough with the tineg ‘()nly Talking Sense'. but we soon find ourselves in the grasp oftitles such as ‘Bullets In My Hairdo' and ‘Paradisc (Wherever You Are)‘. This is the realm where the tunes are distinctly MOR (Medium ()r Rare) while the Chord changes and lyrical naievety amount to nothing rrrore nor less than aural Ker-Plunlg
Perhaps the brothers' untapped promise is down to complacency. Acclaim in their own backyard was swift. lasting and topped offwith the award of New Zealand‘s equivalent of the OBE; and the nation's attention was guaranteed when ‘Weather With You' became the signature tune to the nightly forecast (if The Album Show is to be believed).
But why deny the Finns some fun? This they are clearly having as they beam at each other on the inner sleeve. Even rrrore amusing is the family album snap of the two strumming what looks like Neil's first chord mirrored by Tim. a flare-collared cross between Michael Stipe and Charlie Manson.
Firm play The Ferry. Glasgow on Mon [3.
Continuing with its highly successful Cutting Edge initiative, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra opens the 95/96 series of five events with a concert performance of Gavin Bryars’ opera Medea. Well known for his The Sinking Of The Titanic and Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, Bryars is one of Britain’s leading composers and writes across a broad range of styles. Astonishingly, the BBC SSO’s performance of Medea will be the first time the work has been heard in the tilt. It was premiered in France by the
Opera de Lyon in 1984 to great critical acclaim, even being hailed as the event of the season. Later that year, it was the choice of Theatre des Champs Elysées in Paris, with the whole run of performances selling out. The overdue Glasgow performance has come about through Radio 3’s invitation to the BBC $80 to give this Invitation Concert (which means that it’s free of charge) for their year-long celebration of British music, Fairest isle and is a one-off chance to hear this major work which launched Gavin Bryars as a composer on the international
Based on Euripides’ version of the Greek mythological tragedy of Medea, magician and daughter of Aeeres who married Jason and won him the Golden Fleece, the opera tells of how she was
betrayed by her husband when he deserted her for Glauce, daughter of Creon, King of Corinth. She tiren goes on to murder not only Jason’s new wife and her father by making them burst into flames, but Jason and their two children. Medea tells Jason that their children died through his actions and refuses to let him bury their bodies. The opera ends with the Chorus reminding us that we are all victims of fate over which we have no control. Tire role of Medea is sung by Maiella Cullagh, Richard Iialton is Jason and Jeffrey Lawton is Green. Patricia Bardon and Gidon Salts are Nurse and Tutor and conductor is Martyn Brabbins. (Carol Main)
Medea (1995 concert vars/on) Is at the Tramway, Glasgow on Fri 3.
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