Albulm cover artwork for Crowded House with limited edition silver vinyl LP popping outThe House has been renovated.

And a mate of mine wasn’t happy when he saw the new Crowded House line-up – Neil Finn and Nick Seymour joined by Neil’s sons, Liam and Elroy, and the band’s first producer, Mitchell Froom. My mate tweeted: “This is the equivalent of Paul and Ringo getting George Martin and a couple of Paul’s kids and going out calling themselves The Beatles. They would never be The Beatles! This will never be Crowded House.”

That might have been a slight over-reaction. Neil Finn’s marvellous melodies have always been at the heart of this band, and a few small repairs doesn’t mean a demolition. The new band was to have made its live debut at last year’s Bluesfest, but then, of course, the world changed.

Neil Finn sings of “the world returning” on the band’s first album in 11 years, a record that finds him going “a little deeper down”, where “goodness is a curse”. And though he eschews obvious pop hits for darker fare, the result is a grower, with surprising earworms. No, this is not the Crowded House we fell in love with in the ’80s, though as Neil Finn notes, it was “never my intention to create a legend.” Instead, he remains a master craftsman and an artist not afraid of shaking things up. It is, as he sings, “the start of something.”

Dreamers Are Waiting by Crowded House is out June 4 – including on JB-exclusive silver vinyl, pictured above – via EMI/Universal.

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