First published on 29 May 2013. Updated on 21 Jun 2013.
They sometimes say, “If you don’t like the weather in Melbourne, wait an hour.” Neil Finn had that experience in mind when he wrote ‘Four Seasons In One Day’ for Crowded House’s Woodface album, on which he boldly re-united with brother Tim and set about following up on a new overseas success which had seen the previous LP Temple of Low Men reach the US top 40.
Living in East St Kilda while he was compiling the record, Neil was influenced by the city on much of Woodface. Tim’s presence meant the record was less introspective and more energetic than previous albums, so ‘Four Seasons …’ was one of the more traditionally downbeat and gentle of Neil’s contributions (although Tim gets a credit). And we know where we are fairly rapidly. “The sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the domain”.
The climatological unpredictability of Melbourne gifted Finn with a sturdy metaphor for the vagaries of love, and our emotional journeys in general. “Even when you’re feeling warm / The temperature could drop away / Like four seasons in one day”, although you’d have to ask him what “Blood dries up like rain like rain / Fills my cup, like four seasons …” might mean.
There was always a strong argument for Crowded House being an Australian band, which erstwhile ‘Kiwi’ Finn was happy to confirm, but more specifically the group were Melbourne through and through. Both Nick Seymour and the late Paul Hester were recruited while playing in local bands and their own contributions to the nuances of Neil Finn’s sophisticated material shouldn’t be underestimated.
Woodface was voted the third best Australian album ever in the 100 Best Australian Albums book. Some things are not to be sneezed at … although there is Melbourne in spring.