Half Notes: Liam Finn – FOMO (2011)

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Liam Finn’s second solo record is different, something far more conventionally pop-infused than his 2007 debut, a thrilling but almost confusingly complex outburst of creativity called I’ll Be Lightning — and that can, at first, sound like a step backward. It starts with his noticeable drift back into the shadow of Dear Old Dad. There are times here, maybe too many, when you can’t help but hear Neil Finn, proof once again that there’s no outrunning the ageless DNA that mingles with our own blood. That said, the younger Finn could find worse things to sound like. As long as it’s not too much, and Liam still achieves that, adding so many modern flourishes, so many things a half a world away from the occasionally too-cozy Beatle-redux vibe of Crowded House, that the connection dulls upon repeated listens. Even as Finn smooths out the edges, I can’t help but sense an emerging individuality on FOMO. It’s something in between stark Elliott Smith-ian honesty and his dad’s perfectly contoured pop majesties. Cue “Roll of the Eye,” a career-defining dash from sunny hook to jagged confusion in the form of wailing distortion and machine-gun snare drums. This is the song, I think, that we’ll look back on and say: “Here’s where Liam Finn finally put it all together.”

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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