Earth opens up with Finn shooting below the surface on "Nobody Wants To" (its first lines: "Down on the ocean floor / That's where I'm heading for") before driving into the emergent joy of the lead single, "Don't Stop Now." One of House's hallmarks (sometimes absent from Finn's solo work) is a sense of whimsy, and it's in fine display on tracks like the jaunty "She Called Up," with its playful keyboard line during the verses and cheeky "la la la" harmonies on the later choruses.
Religious imagery, another Finn staple, drives the uplifting "Heaven That I'm Making" - although I think he should've been as specific in the song title as he was in the lyrics, because the song should really be called "This Heaven That I'm Making." That heaviness is followed by the ethereal nature of "A Sigh" and is later countered with the transcontinental Steely Dan-ish vibe of "Transit Lounge" before the album closes with the stark beauty of "You Are the One to Make Me Cry" and "People Are Like Suns."
This is how bands are supposed to mature. Earth only hints at how this purported ongoing collaboration will progress. (Good news: Finn has already promised that another album is in the works, a full-bore group effort from the get-go.)
Listeners adventurous enough to seek out the two-disc import version on Parlophone will be blessed with a 20-minute single-layer PAL DVD-Video, compatible with universal DVD players and featuring footage of the band rehearsing older material in front of a select audience at Real World Studios in England. You'll see them literally shaking the cobwebs off the classics "Locked Out" (usually heard among the current live set's first few tracks), "Something So Strong," and "World Where You Live." (The original Webcast of the rehearsal from which these songs are culled is at crowdedhouse.com.) Also, Finn and his bandmates participate in a thoughtful, informative walkthrough of each Time on Earth track in an interview/documentary - a textbook example of schooled musicians learned in the art of philosophizing about their own work on camera.
Whichever form you get it in, just get it. Time on Earth is time well spent.
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