Don’t Dream It’s Over is a delicious pop song, an end-of-party, all-join-hands singalong, while its melancholic nostalgia for Australia gives it anthemic status Down Under. It’s one of numerous joys within Crowded House’s exquisite debut album.
Released in 1986, two years after the demise of Neil Finn’s previous band Split Enz, the LP combines witty, weighty lyrics with strident rhythm sections and guitars with obvious Beatles influences, an alternative to the grandiose electronic pop dominating the era. Compact and without ego – the longest track is just a handful of seconds over four minutes – it is a listening experience to treasure.
Of the other singles, Mean To Me is harmonic and cynical and the organ-marinated Something So Strong lollops along stylishly. There is a marvellous crescendo to Love You ’Til The Day I Die and the brassiness of closing track That’s What I Call Love allows Finn to find his greatest vocal range. World Where You Live delights, with careful licks and epic drums, and there’s a rockily updated version of the Split Enz track I Walk Away.
It’s a smart, melodic record from beginning to end. A lack of belief from their label prevented it reaching wider audiences, but in Australia it inevitably hit No.1, while in the UK it got to No.99. The band’s third album Woodface made a huge European impact in 1991, and the band split in 1996, returning a decade later.