Review: Crowded House Shines In Reissue Campaign

Late last year, acclaimed Aussie band Crowded House reissued their six studio releases – 1986’s self-titled effort, Temple Of Low Men (1988), 1991’s Woodface, Together Alone (1993), 2007’s Time On Earth and 2010’s Intriguer – in addition to 1999’s collection of outtakes, Afterglow. While reissues campaigns can occasionally be dicey affairs marred by subpar sound or insufficient historical detail or perspective, the band pulled out all the stops for this series.

Compared with the reverence they earned in their homeland, Crowded House’s success was considerably more modest in North America.  While you’d be hard-pressed to find someone older than 40 that isn’t familiar with the group’s hits including “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” “Something So Strong,” “Better Be Home Soon,” and “Fall At Your Feet,” what is arguably most fascinating about this reissue series is the artistic progression from album to album, especially when it comes to some of their later works.

While I’m an unabashed fan of their entire catalogue, my personal favourite album in this series is 2007’s Time On Earth. The record served as a poignant return to form for the group, following the tragic suicide of original Crowded House drummer Paul Hester in early 2005. There is an understandable undercurrent of sadness permeating “Nobody Wants To,” “Silent House” and “A Sigh,” but also offers a slightly more optimistic world view on “Don’t Stop Now” and “She Called Up.”

Each of the albums featured in this series have been expanded to include not only the original studio release, but a second disc comprised of rare and previously unreleased recordings. Also included in each hardcover set is a book boasting liner notes, essays and interviews with band members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour.

This reissue series is the perfect tip of the hat to one of pop’s most consistently underrated groups.