John and Julian, Bob and Jakob, or Loudon and Rufus: The “like father, like son” adage in rock/pop music has always been a somewhat shaky proposition over the years. Liam Finn, son of Neil Finn (Crowded House) cuts a similar cloth in some songs, in which a few Lennon-driven melodies pop up occasionally.
But beyond that, Liam is just being Liam on his first solo release, I’ll Be Lightning. The New Zealand native is a solo act to the degree of creating his own live mini-orchestrations through the use of loop effects and drum samples. Eliza-Jane Barnes provides backups and is a smooth anchor for Finn’s spontaneous energy. Tracks like “Gather to the Chapel” and “Lullaby” bring to mind Elliott Smith, but in a much more major chord/there-is-light-on-the-horizon kind of way. Finn was also frontman of the New Zealand rock/pop outfit Betchadupa back in the ’90s — a band that opened for the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Jane’s Addiction, and Foo Fighters. Finn’s natural charm and ability to entertain as a one-man band are seasoned at this point and always expanding.
“No two shows are the same,” Finn says. “It has been constantly evolving all year, and it’s so enjoyable to let the spontaneous moments guide the show. Absolutely anything can happen.”
(appeared in Phoenix New Times)