Photo: EMI Music Australia

Album Review: Neil Finn – Out of Silence

Published On September 6, 2017 | By Haydon Benfield | Albums, Music

Out of Silence is touted as Neil Finn’s fourth solo album, which of course it is. But to refer to Out of Silence as an album would be to do a disservice to Finn, arranger Victoria Kelly, and all the musicians and technicians involved. Out of Silence is bottled lightning. It is a record of a group of people coming together in a room to perform in unison, to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Out of Silence is a record in the truest sense.

Out of Silence was recorded in a single four-hour session at his Roundhead Studio in Auckland on August 25th, with the goings-on in the studio broadcast live over the internet. This session came at the end of a month of weekly webcasts from the studio where fans could watch Finn work on, practice, and record early versions of the tracks. The gorgeous vocal harmonies and orchestral arrangements of opening track, Love is Emotional, establishes the record’s minimal-but-complex baroque-pop palette. Finn’s employs a falsetto heavily across the early tracks of Out of Silence, illustrating that his vocal skills are just as keenly honed as his songwriting.

Neil is joined by his brother Tim on Alone, with the elder Finn’s vocals proving a nice addition to the sonic palette, balancing Neil’s delicate delivery. Widow’s Peak is musically sparse, driven by Finn’s vocals and piano work, augmented by delicious choral work and the occasional vibraphone. If there is one song that must be listened to from Out of Silence, it is Chameleon Days which opens with vibraphone and string swells before a piano establishes the main melodic line of the song. Throughout, Chameleon Days gentle shifts tone much like the animal of its title, and the bridge is simply excellent.

Given the record’s general tone, Second Nature sorely stands out thanks to a relatively maximalist composition which doesn’t mesh with the surrounding tracks, and this somewhat damages the ineffable beauty that otherwise permeates the record. Out of Silence is a tight 35-minute record that offers a clear illustration of Finn’s talents.

4 / 5 stars     

About The Author

::: Haydon is an amateur at everything who knows a little about everything, and a lot about nothing. After having had careers in retail and administration, he looks forward to establishing himself in an industry where he will be constantly stimulated intellectually and creatively.

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