Crowded House - AfterglowOver the years, any band can accumulate enough B-sides and unreleased tracks to fill an entire CD, but Crowded House is a special case. Not only do they have a catalogue of rarities, but unreleased material which basically comprises a lost, never-released album.

In 1989, Neil Finn and his bandmates were struggling with material for the upcoming album which would become known as Woodface. Though they had an album’s worth of material, Capitol Records didn’t feel there was a viable single that could justify the album’s existence. At the same time, Neil was working on a Finn Brothers project with Tim Finn, and the situation was the exact opposite – there was no label pressure (truth be told, they didn’t even have a label for their side project), and yet the songs flowed prolifically and sounded great. Wanting to use some of the Finn Brothers songs on the next Crowded House album, Neil invited Tim to join the band full-time, which he did for about a year. Two thirds of Woodface were replaced with new material from what would have been the Finn Brothers repertoire, and those scrapped songs went unheard in the studio, until the release of Afterglow. While the Finn Brothers material is easily the superior music, most of the abandoned Woodface tracks were at least up to the standards of the band’s first album.

Other gems include a demo of “Lester”, Neil Finn’s ode to his dog upon a near-fatal run-in with a car, and two songs from the Together Alone sessions. “Recurring Dream” finally comes in from the cold in this collection as well, a very early song including original fourth band member Craig Hooper which dates back before the first album; the song had previously been available only as a B-side on an import single, or on the obscure Rikky & Pete soundtrack CD which was comprised of material from numerous Split Enz alumni.

The most striking lost gem on Afterglow is a track called “Help Is Coming”, featuring the Neil Finn/Nick Seymour/Mark Hart/Peter Jones lineup that toured following Paul Hester’s departure from the rating: 4 out of 4drummer’s seat. This song would have been on the fifth album that never materialized; in the place of that album, Capitol released Recurring Dream, a decent greatest hits compilation with three new tracks that included Hester. “Help Is Coming” made me wish that one album had been squeezed out of that new lineup.

Order this CD

  1. I Am In Love (4:38)
  2. Sacred Cow (3:37)
  3. We Can Touch (3:47)
  4. Help Is Coming (4:49)
  5. I Love You, Dawn (3:39)
  6. Dr. Livingstone (3:57)
  7. My Telly’s Gone Bung (3:14)
  8. Private Universe (4:09)
  9. Lester (2:18)
  10. Anyone Can Tell (3:37)
  11. Recurring Dream (3:24)
  12. Left Hand (2:58)
  13. Time Immemorial (4:07)

Released by: Capitol
Release date: 1999
Total running time: 47:12