ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 8, 2004
By Steve Newton
When you hear the compelling vocal harmonies of the Finn brothers, Neil and Tim, it’s easy to imagine that they took a lot of stylistic inspiration from John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But when the Beatles were famously showcasing their collaborative singing skills to the ’60s masses on The Ed Sullivan Show, the young Finns weren’t part of the TV audience. Growing up in a small town in New Zealand, they didn’t even own a tube.
“We never saw any of that early stuff,” says Tim, on the phone from L.A. “But our mother was a good singer; she taught us to sing in harmony a little bit. And there was this couple of Scottish priests that used to stay with us occasionally in the summer holidays, and they sang naturally together in harmony. We were just exposed to a lot of harmony singing around the house, in family situations, so it became second nature in a way.”
The Finns have been fusing their voices for the benefit of the pop-loving public on and off since 1977, when Neil joined his older brother’s Australia-based band, Split Enz. They’ve also recorded together over the years in the Neil-led Crowded House and as the Finn Brothers, which is how they’re currently billing themselves. The duo’s upcoming release, Everyone Is Here, sees them not only singing with each other, but–on autobiographical tracks like “Disembodied Voices” and “A Life Between Us”–about each other as well.
“It’s quite a fresh kinda theme to pursue,” notes Finn, “I don’t know that many songs where you get two brothers singing to each other. It felt like a really interesting area to go into.”
Some of the tunes on Everyone Is Here verge on the sentimental, but others sport the irresistible pure-pop vibe that typifies the Finns’ best work. When asked to pick what he considers his kid brother’s best work, Finn points to Split Enz’ bouncy “One Step Ahead” and the haunting Crowded House ballad “Into Temptation”.
But since he’s calling on the first day of rehearsals for the Finn Brothers’ upcoming North American tour, he can’t guarantee that either of those songs will make the set list. Still, the 52-year-old Kiwi reckons a good time will be had by all when the tour kicks off at the Orpheum on Friday (July 9).
“We’ve got a good band,” he reports, “and we’re rehearsing all week, so I don’t think there’ll be too many bugs [to work out]. But there is a kind of a plunging-into-the-unknown feeling about the first show, so it’s a combination of things. The crowd can sometimes play a big part in it, too.”