The second coming of Crowded House, in 2007, when they reformed and released their fifth album Time On Earth – their first since 1993’s Together Alone – was the first sign of the veering from the old formulas of the original first four albums. Since 2007, main songwriter and singer, Neil Finn, has been a busy man and trying out a few different styles with different artists. There have been numerous solo albums, albums with family members – his wife Sharon in Pajama Club in 2011 (check it out, it was a fun record!) and Liam in 2018 – and, of course, his stint in Fleetwood Mac. Come 2021, Finn thought it was time to return with a new Crowded House album, the first since 2010’s Intriguer.
There has been a personnel change with long term Houser Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod subbed off for Finn’s sons – Elroy and Liam – and also returning to the squad on keyboards and guitars is legacy Crowded House producer Mitchell Froom – Froom produced the band’s first three albums. Throughout 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic, Finn and co’s have been releasing weekly shows on Fangradio, featuring stripped down versions of past glories, whilst new tracks started to seep in, and hinting at a new album. Fast forward to June 2021, Dreamers Are Waiting was unleashed onto the world.
Bad Times Good opens the twelve track album. Its somewhat of a stripped-down track with the lyric that is very relatable to today’s global pandemic, “Hey, everybody wants to make a bad time good”. Finn’s vocals are strong, yet dreamlike, and it sets up the album nicely.
Playing With Fire again references the pandemic and isolation, but don’t worry, this album isn’t about. To The Island shows the quirky side of the band, showing Finn has never shied away from his Split Enz roots. It features a simple yet mesmerising repetitive drum beat by Leroy, showing you don’t need anything complicated to triumph with a simple pop tune.
Up next is Sweet Tooth. Much like the previous song, this one features a simple yet catchy meandering guitar riff. The track shows its true identity once the chorus arrives with Finn close to yelping with a faux country twang. Whatever You Want is driven by an upbeat funky bass line that shows a very different side to the bands song writing. As mentioned earlier, the band have veered away from the sound of the original four albums and this track is evident of it, yet oddly, it still sounds like a Crowded House song.
The remainder of the album settles down a bit and felt a bit similar. Trouble was the first five songs were all sonically different, I was waiting to see where Finn and his crew were going to take me. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the remainder of the album, there is no bad Crowded House album, but I was wanting more flavour from the last half of the album. Dreamers Are Waiting is filled with songs that are easy to listen to, just like all Crowded House album are.
Album Review By Darren Leach