The singer's great ear for melody saves this album from coming over as pretentious.
CD review: Fomo - Liam Finn
(Yep Roc Records)
The New Zealand musician Liam Finn may not be all that well known, but the young chap has played with rock luminaries such as Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr and Wilco.
Then again, it's easy to get that kind of star access when your father is the Crowded House frontman Neil Finn. However, the junior Finn has always been his own man. With his former band Betchadupa and a now-flourishing solo career, Finn has been steadily building a unique body of work that can be best described as left-field pop.
Fomo, short for Fear of Missing Out, is Finn's second album and it should cement his status as someone to watch. While his father's band were pop classicists, Finn is more interested in eclectic sonic terrain.
The opener Neurotic World sets the experimental tone; Finn's floating vocals sail on top of rippling keyboards and squalling guitars to create an atmosphere both intimate and lonely.
Always wanting to keep the listener engaged, Finn changes gear occasionally by pairing his more delicate offerings with upbeat tunes. The best example is the combo of Roll of the Eye and Cold Feet.
The latter employs a shuffling drumbeat and distorted guitar riffs while the latter is bouncy and sweet. All of this could come off as pretentious were it not for Finn's great ear for a melody, which proves it's always handy to hang around your dad and his friends every so often.