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April 2003


H.E.A.R.honors Neil Finn

Neil Finn's reputation as one of New Zealand's leading songwriters was confirmed when he was awarded an OBE in 1993, in recognition of his work with Split Enz and Crowded House. Following the latter band's emotional farewell performance in Sydney on 24 November 1996, Finn set about recording his debut solo outing for Parlophone Records.

The presence of producers Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, Natalie Imbruglia) and Marius De Vries (Bjork, Madonna) added a richer atmosphere to Finn's tuneful pop melodies. Despite living in the UK and having to contribute his mixes by ISDN, Godrich added weight to the album's stand-out tracks, "Sinner" and "Twisty Bass".

De Fries joined Finn in New Zealand to add his peculiar variety of computer wizardry to the sessions. Guest musicians on the album included guitarist Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil), bass player Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) and producer Mitchell Froom, with Finn's son contributing drums to two tracks.

The Crowded House soundalike, "She Will Have Her Way", dented the UK charts at number 26 in June 1998. The album enjoyed more commercial success, entering the UK chart at number 5 the same month, but follow-up singles failed to trouble the charts. Future commercial success on the level of Crowded House seems unlikely, but Finn is able to enjoy the fruits of his previous labours and is more concerned now about writing credible music. He has survived his brush with the pop charts with honour, as the experimental One Nil demonstrates. www.nilfun.com

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