Liam Finn, I’ll Be Lightning

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Like father like son: pop songs that sparkle and shine

Does it run in the family? Liam Finn, son of Crowded House's Neil Finn, crafts songs rife with heart and hooks. Unlike dad, though, Liam isn't afraid of a little noise. Opener "Better to Be" is anchored in a spurting organ line, "Lead Balloon" moves quickly from spry pop strum to complete-and-total-chaos and the guitars in the driving rocker "This Place is Killing Me" are muddy and messed-up. This willingness to scrape and scuff gives Call Me Lightning a surprising surge of urgency. Finn's voice may have the same nervous whisper as Elliott Smith's, but the clattering around him keeps things suitably screwy. It's a refreshing dynamic, a kind of rough vs. sweet back-and-forth that makes Call Me Lightning one of the year's most charming surprises.