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with Jesus

By David Werther.

7 Worlds Collide, The Sun Came Out (Sony Music, 2009).

           Back in Christmas 2008, Neil Finn (Crowded House) invited some stellar musicians to bring their families and come to New Zealand to make an album in three weeks. The guest list included Johnny Marr (The Smiths and the Cribs); Ed O’Obrien and Phil Selway (Radiohead); Jeff Tweedy, Glenn Kotche, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone (Wilco); and K.T Tunstall and Lisa Germano. Neil also enlisted his brother Tim, wife Sharon, sons Elroy and Liam, and fellow New Zealanders Don McGlashan (The Bellbirds) and Bic Runga. Some of the guests had joined Neil seven years earlier to play concerts and release a live record for Doctors without Borders. This time around, the goal was to devote their talents to an album with the proceeds going to Oxfam.

           Given the short time frame, the large cast of characters, and the fact that not everyone showed up with songs fully written and ready to be rehearsed, the probability of ending up with a half-baked collection of disparate songs was high. However, 7 Worlds Collide (Neil Finn’s name for this group) beat the odds, delivering two CDs worth of songs: fine pop rock, with a positive vibe. Among my favorites are “Too Blue” (Johnny Marr/Jeff Tweedy),“You Never Know” (Jeff Tweedy), “Girl Make Up Your Own Mind” (Don McGlashan), and “Long Time Gone” (Don McGlashan).The chorus from Lisa Germano’s “Reptile” — reflected in the CD’s title — aptly captures the success of this musical collaboration and celebration: “The sun came out and it didn’t go away, no it didn’t, it didn’t go away.”

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