ALBUM OF THE MONTH - Crowded House - Together Alone - Originally Released 1993

Posted by on September 07, 2016 . .

To say I’m excited about the upcoming Crowded House vinyl reissues would be an understatement.

That’s why for my album of the month review I chose ‘Crowded House – Together Alone’. It’s one of my all-time favourite albums and I’m genuinely looking forward to grabbing myself a newly minted vinyl copy as soon as it arrives.

To be honest, upon first listen to this classic album I was surprised and slightly disappointed. The problem was that I unrealistically expected a cookie cutter follow up to the monumental successful Woodface. Instead what fans got was a more experimental, emotive and slightly looser sounding album - bound with harmonious tunes, complex and richly textured melodies and classic Neil Finn song writing, I finally accepted the album as something individually its own and uniquely enjoyable. 

 Track Listing 

1. Kare Kare 3:35
             2. In My Command 3:43
           3. Nails in My Feet 3:39
                4. Black & White Boy 4:00
          5. Fingers of Love 4:26
            6. Pineapple Head 3:27
   7. Locked Out 3:17
             8. Private Universe 5:39
                   9. Walking on the Spot 2:54
10. Distant Sun 3:49
            11. Catherine Wheels 5:12
  12. Skin Feeling 3:56
        13. Together Alone 3:55

The hauntingly atmospheric opening track ‘Kare Kare’, a song which describes the beach outside their New Zealand recording studio, sets the musical scene for the album. Karekare, the breathtakingly beautiful black sand beach was made famous in the movie ‘The Piano’ and more recently featured in Channel 7’s comedy-drama ‘800 words’. In Neil Finns own words "It’s a powerful place, not an easy place to be in some ways. There's a lot of energy there and it's quite confronting, but it’s a good energy for music."

There is no doubt that the stunning location heavily influenced the overall sound and feel of Together Alone, but it was the combination of the new band member (the multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart), with a new producer (Youth of ‘Killing Joke’ and ‘The Orb’ fame) that defined this truly epic album.

The 13 tracks that make up Together Alone include an eclectic array of instruments, ranging from accordions, steel guitar, mandolins, log drums and even a Maori choir that is featured on three tracks.

There are far too many standout moments on this album to mention, but my personal favourites include:

‘Distant Sun’ - which is the first single released from the album and includes the classic chorus “When your seven worlds collide, whenever I am by your side, and dust from a distant sun, will shower over everyone”. 

The grungy ‘Black & White Boy’ - which features backing vocal by Neil’s wife Sharon, deserves a mention.

The title track ‘Together Alone’ - which is also the closing track, features log drumming and a performance by the Te Waka Huia Cultural Group Choir. It all culminates in a spine tingling finale from Together Alone.

Together Alone is a powerful album and paved the way for huge change within Crowded House and its band members, some joyous and some incredibly sad moments followed in its wake. Twenty three years on, and listening to Together Alone evokes a stirring of emotion and memories, and after all isn’t that the true test of great music? In my opinion it’s the reason why we treasure these classics.

On the 16th September Crowded House will reissue 5 classic albums; Crowded House, Temple of Low Men, Woodface, Together Alone and Afterglow, all pressed on 180gm vinyl. All the albums are available for pre-order from www.jjsvinyl.com and at only $39.95 each, they’re crazy value. Secure your copy now – you’ll never know how long you’ll have to wait for the next pressing if you miss this one.