Finn Brothers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Finn Brothers 

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Brothers Neil and Tim Finn are bona fide stars in Europe, Australia, and their native New Zealand, and a collection of their best tunes--from Split Enz, Crowded House, and assorted solo albums and side projects--would easily fill a couple CDs. Unfortunately, it wouldn't contain much from the past ten years. Often bandmates but rarely cowriters, Neil and Tim share a penchant for quirky, sentimental Beatlesque pop but aren't slavishly devoted to 60s rock tradition; their first attempt to write together turned into an excellent Crowded House album, Woodface (1991), but their next try, Finn (1995), was lifeless and perfunctory. Neil and Tim's subsequent solo efforts have been similarly disappointing, though from time to time a song soars above the rest, like "She Will Have Her Way" from Neil's Try Whistling This (1998) or "What You've Done" from Tim's Feeding the Gods (2001). On the forthcoming Everyone Is Here (Nettwerk), however, the brothers seem to have righted the boat. They've reunited with producer, multi-instrumentalist, and all-around busybody Mitchell Froom, who worked on Crowded House's 1985 debut, and the disc's best songs have a symphonic reach: the detailed, spacious arrangements couch the Finns' heartbreaking harmonies in layers of electric and acoustic guitar, percussion, and organ, plus the occasional string part and touches of mandolin, pedal steel, or euphonium. Even when the Finns shamelessly nick from Lennon (on the fuzzbox-heavy "All God's Children," for instance), they sound so exuberant that you can't hold their piracy against them. Angela McCluskey opens. $28.50, all ages; the Friday show is sold-out. Thursday, July 22, and Friday, July 23, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Crump.

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