Dreamers Are Waiting
Released: June 4, 2021
Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU
Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)
Genre: adult alternative rock
Song Title [time] (Writers) (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Songs written by Neil Finn unless noted otherwise.
Total Running Time: 41:53
3.650 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)
Quotable: “The band’s first album since 2010 is full of beautiful details and deceptive tonal shifts – a slow burn but worth the effort.” – Andrew Stafford, The Guardian
About the Album:
Dreamers Are Waiting is the seventh album from Australian rock band Crowded House – their first studio album since 2010’s Intriguer. Frontman Neil Finn said he was waiting for a “fresh and authentic way to re-approach” WK recording with the group because he was “afraid of just repeating the same formulas.” WK The album was recorded largely in Los Angeles in 2020 prior the Covid-19 lockdowns and finished remotely.
Aside from Neil, the only other member to appear on every Crowded House album is bassist Nick Seymour. However, an old friend returns. Mitchell Froom, who produced the band’s first three albums, replaces Mark Hart “on endlessly inventive keys.” SMH In addition, this became more of a family affair than previous Crowded House albums as Neil’s sons Liam and Elroy join the fold. They “are so steeped in their dad’s harmonic sensibility that they can only amplify it: exactly the kind of moral support that plants a permanent flickering smile on a decidedly ambivalent set of lyrics.” SMH Neil’s brother Tim, who was a member of the band for 1991’s Woodface, drops in for a co-write on Too Good for This World and Neil’s wife Sharon on backing vocals for “the airborne Love Isn’t Hard at All…the album’s most transparent and uncomplicated expression – and tellingly its least interesting.” SMH
There is “a clear musical divide” GU between the first four albums and the latter three, released after original drummer Paul Hester’s 2005 suicide. “Some of the band’s natural joie de vivre – along with the tightly wound pop hooks and effortless anthems – went with him.” GU “You won’t find anything approaching ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ here…but it’s worth making the effort because the beauty of this record is in the detail and deceptive tonal shifts.” GU “The songs get under your skin like an itch you just have to scratch, almost subliminally addictive.” GU
“The sneaking suspicion that the band is having a ball grows with each elaborate left-field diversion…A turned woodblock giggles over here, an outrageous guitar line snakes away over there.” SMH On Bad Times Good, “it would take one of those nerdy YouTubers who deconstruct Beatles songs to explain Neil’s perpetual oscillation between major and minor moods.” SMH
On the single Playing with Fire Neil “sounds more fatalistic than optimistic, but it’s a good choice as [a] single, with just a hint of the old snap, crackle and pop of Split Enz, parrping horns in the chorus.” GU Neil “references quarantine madness and confesses, ‘I’ve been lying frozen in my bed / Feeling like the end isn’t far away.’ Still, those horns sure sound like a triumph.” SMH
Whatever You Want “features the most flatulent bass solo ever recorded: a pretty funny detail in an angry song about some crazy lying king who’s ‘as bent as a snake.’” SMH
“When the next generation is allowed behind the wheel – Liam’s Show Me the Way and Goodnight Everyone – the results are the equal of anything else here, not just in quality, but in their hypnotic, edge-of-delirium feel. At these moments, it feels like Crowded House is now less Neil’s vehicle than a multi-headed hydra for this extraordinary musical family.” GU
However, it’s Neil’s name and voice, “still one of the most sensitive and alluring instruments in pop, leading the way. He’s a little sadder, and world-wearier, but his craft is as good as ever.” GU Sweet Tooth “is the nagging pop nugget its titles suggests,” GU showcasing the band’s trademark “ingenious melody knitting together a bunch of chords and a bass line that sound like they would otherwise be complete strangers.” SMH
The Guardian’s Andrew Stafford asserts that it is “the closest thing here to a vintage Crowded House song” GU while Michael Dwyer of The Sydney Morning Herald argues that Real Life Woman “is the most classic Crowded House song of the lot” SMH with “a cryptic character analysis set to a slowly descending chime of guitars and ominous keyboard washes.” SMH
Second single To the Island “is the thematic heart of the whole head-spinning trip. In a world of chaos and confusion…there’s a place that’s just the right size.” SMH It “could be a paean to the safety of a long-term relationship, or to the Finns’ native New Zealand.” GU
“For all its insistent, whispering panic, Dreamers Are Waiting is a work of such intricate, almost cartoonish musicality that it feels blissfully nostalgic by nature in a world which, by and large, just doesn’t make records like this anymore.” SMH “It doesn’t just retain the intimacy that made them so cherished, but makes it their signature sound.” GU
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First posted 6/4/2021.