Tim Finn – The View Is Worth The Climb (ABC/Universal)

According to the press notes that come with Tim Finn’s new album, when his career-spanning anthology, North, South, East, West, was released in 2009, he thought that it was a fitting way to end his days as a solo artist. “I’ll do other things, but I don’t think I’ll do any more solo albums”, he claimed at the time. But the creative urge took hold and two years later here we are with Tim’s ninth record.

First let’s get the particulars out of the way. The album was produced by Jacquire King, who has also produced Kings Of Leon, Norah Jones and Modest Mouse. The musicians used are: Tony Buchen (bass), Zac Rae (keys), Mara TK (guitar), Joey Waronker (drums) and Brett Adams (guitar). Brett has been playing guitar for Tim for a while now and is also a member of The Bads, Waronker is known for his work with Beck and R.E.M. The album was recorded at Auckland’s Roundhead studios in a mere 12 days, although Finn claims to have spent the previous year crafting the music and the lyrics.

From the sound of the album, that’s the best way for Finn to work. The songs are all of a high standard, but the performances sound fresh and unlaboured.

As is evident by the album’s title, the 59-year-old Finn is at a stage in his life where he is feeling somewhat philosophical. Fortunately, although his lyrics are full of observations like, “by any measure of happiness, everyday is all there is”, and “it’s no use pretending day after day, life is a certain way”, he never sounds preachy or curmudgeonly.

Musically, most of the 11 songs are mid-tempo with tastefully played guitar and/or piano leading the way. Tim’s flair for melody is still intact with his strongest here being All This And More, Can’t Be Found and the title track.

While many of the songs deal with romantic relationships, Everybody’s Wrong sounds as if it may be part of the on-going musical dialogue Tim has been having with his former Split Enz mate Phil Judd. People Like Us has an anthemic feel to it with Tim urging the listener to “raise a glass together for all the dreams that are still alive”.

Certainly The View Is Worth The Climb is not for the cynical and these lyrics, in lesser hands, could sound cloying or insipid. Fortunately Finn’s unpretentious and heartfelt delivery carries the day, resulting in one of his finest albums. No need to stop now.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to All This And More from The View Is Worth The Climb