Tim Finn – Imaginary Kingdom

Tim Finn - Imaginary KingdomAlmost a year after one of its songs (“Winter Light”) made a surprise appearance on the soundtrack from the big-budget, big-screen adaptation of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Tim Finn’s new album is here at last, presenting a somewhat more polished and sedate sound than his previous two solo efforts, and yet with hints of some of his past musical endeavours.

There are hints of the old Split Enz quirkiness in “So Precious,” hints of Before & After funkiness in “Dead Flowers,” “Horizon” has an almost intangible similarity to the best songs from Big Canoe (and has just a little of the feel of New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give”), “Still The Song” has the feel of his previous two solo albums, and “Couldn’t Be Done” and “Show Yourself” have a little something of the blue-eyed-soul of his very first solo album. That’s not to say that any of these songs are anything less than original and enjoyable; instead, if you’ve liked any of the stylistic stops Tim’s made along his musical career, there’s at least one or two songs on Imaginary Kingdom that will instantly lodge themselves in your head.

There are also songs that are completely different from any of the styles he’s visited before; as I probably mentioned when reviewing the Narnia soundtrack, “Winter Light” is positively lovely and sedate, and “Astounding Moon” has something of the same orchestra-backed feel to it. “Unsinkable” has a quiet, stately feel to it, but even more than that, the lyrics are outstanding, using the sinking of the Titanic (!) as a metaphor for a child’s first realization of his parents’ mortality. That’s not a topic I recall having heard in a lot of pop music before. This is just another example of this album’s depths – there are plenty of layers to peel back, and plenty to enjoy.

4 out of 4Kudos to co-producer Bobby Huff and engineer/session player John Mark Painter (who happens to be a frequent collaborator with Ben Folds – now there’s someone who I’d pay good money to hear work with Tim in the future) for helping to smooth out the sound of this album; Huff is a surprising name to see here, given that his most recent credit that I can recall is the last Leann Rimes album. Ultimately, though, the music and lyrics are Tim’s babies, and this album is a crop of winners without a single misfire. Tim Finn definitely rules this Imaginary Kingdom.

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  1. Couldn’t Be Done (2:50)
  2. Still The Song (2:48)
  3. Astounding Moon (3:35)
  4. Midnight Coma (2:52)
  5. Salt To The Sea (3:45)
  6. Horizon (3:23)
  7. Dead Flowers (3:37)
  8. Resting (Your Hand Lightly) (3:20)
  9. Show Yourself (3:01)
  10. Winter Light (4:10)
  11. So Precious (3:19)
  12. Unsinkable (2:55)

Released by: Parlophone
Release date: 2006
Total running time: 39:41