Jun 27, 2011 Web Exclusive
Now 27 years old, Liam Finn has been a professional musician for half his life. The multi-instrumentalist was just 14 when he joined the backing band of his famous father, Neil Finn (Crowded House, Split Enz), for a world tour. He’s been busy ever since. Though Finn’s rock band Betchadupa failed to garner an audience outside its native New Zealand, the young songwriter found success with his 2007 solo debut, I’ll be Lightning.
The follow up, FOMO (an acronym for Fear of Missing Out), has more of a rhythmic edge than its predecessor. “Roll of the Eye” climaxes with an argument between roiling drums and a riled-up dulcimer. On “Jump Your Bones,” a drum barrage courtesy of Wilco’s Glenn Kotche has been processed through guitar pedals so that it feels as if the rug is being pulled out from under the listener’s tapping feet.
Mostly, though, FOMO bears the influence of Crowded House in both Finn’s keening vocal style and melodic songcraft. That’s not a bad thing. “Don’t Even Know Your Name” boasts an exhilarating chorus in which the bassline becomes unhinged as Finn’s voice ricochets across the speakers. Finn’s friend Johnny Marr would be envious of the woozily drunk guitar effect that underpins “Chase the Seasons.” And the retro pop of “Cold Feet” wouldn’t sound out of place on a She & Him record.
FOMO is seldom revelatory, but its concise pop never wears out its welcome. (www.liamfinn.tv)
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Average reader rating: 8/10