So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1988 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week Steve gets into a Crowded House to find it's a Temple of Low Men...
Crowded House at one point seemed to be the biggest band in the world, they were everywhere. I remember liking the odd track on the radio, enjoying the odd performance on Top of the Pops, but never owning an album so I was quite excited to purchase my first purely for this thirty year retrospective of ours. And do you know what? What an investment. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire album, it’s just pure loveliness with great harmonies.
I Feel Possessed kicks off the album and is instantly recognisable as a Crowded House song. But track 2, Kill Eye really isn’t, in fact if it wasn’t for such a recognisable voice you wouldn’t know who it was and I loved it, guitar, dirty sax and all. 3 brings us to Into Temptation which is so very much like A Day in the Life by The Beatles that I didn’t know whether to love the similarities or hate the the fact it wasn’t A Day in the Life. Mansion in the Slums is another that I could imagine listening to years ago but yet it still sounds fresh, the brass at the end of each verse is subtle but adds a new musical level to the song and on first listen is my favourite track on the album. Track 5 When You Come is different again and yet very them, it’s pleasantly familiar and yet new. 6 Never Be the Same has some pretty funky sounding bass and is probably the most eighties sounding track on Temple of the Low Men, and that’s not meant as an insult. Love This Life starts with the lyric “Seal my fate, I get your tongue in the mail” that’s enough for anyone to know this is my kind of song. Sister Madly is another change of style, more pop jazz maybe with lovely brushed snare, I like it, then it grows into this very sing along style chorus and back to jazz. Not for everyone but certainly my cup of tea, really enjoyed the difference between verse and chorus. Track 9 In the Lowlands with its sound effect drum intro left me thinking I was going to get Hungry by the Wolf Duran Duran type stuff but what I got was almost early U2 but with some beautiful trumpet work and a singer who comes across as less of a git. Better Be Home Soon draws the album to its conclusion with a sense of elegance. The voice work against the acoustic guitar just works, when the rest of the instrumentation kicks in it does it subtly and when the harmonies start you know it’s Crowded House again.
It’s not full of hit singles but there is something magical about Temple of the Low Men and it was a lovely way to spend forty odd minutes.
Image - Amazon