Though Neil Finn hasn’t released a solo album in more than a decade, it’s not like he hasn’t been around. Since 2001′s One Nil, Finn has completed two albums with Crowded House — including the dark and tender Intriguer — a 2004 Finn Brothers project, two more records as 7 Worlds Collide, and another with Pajama Party.
There’s something about his stuff away from those collaborations, though — something far more complex. A Neil Finn record, versus one he works on with Nick Seymour, his wife Sharon or sibling Tim Finn, takes longer to seep in, longer to digest, longer to completely feel and understand.
Take “Divebomber,” from his forthcoming Dizzy Heights — due February 11, 2014 via Lester Records. The song begins at a distant horizon, then moves slowly toward you, and that inevitability proves to be a strange elixir. By the time Finn takes up the lyric, singing in a grippingly emotional falsetto, “Divebomber” has become an enveloping mystery.
“There’s only one way down,” Finn offers, as a crashing plane rushes past in a red glare. He might be talking about fate, he might be talking about a girl, he might be talking about celebrity, he might be talking about any number of life’s unknowable twists. Whatever he’s talking about, though, I’m listening — listening with everything I’ve got.
Neil Finn albums are like that. Puzzles to be pulled apart, rather than put together. Questions, without the pressing need for answers. An impossibly gorgeous sky filled with clouds where the shapes don’t immediately present as your favorite zoo animal, or any discernable thing at all — and I love it.