Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Holed up in a house beside the black sand beaches of Piha, Liam Finn spent his recent New Zealand homecoming continuing to hone his songwriting. The resulting output on his second solo record, FOMO, suggests Finn is probably not one to miss out on many opportunities. So, no worries as far as the title goes. These 10 new songs coalesce around a feeling of gravity that progresses from Finn’s solid 2007 debut, I’ll Be Lightning.
Returning to solo action after an extended busman’s holiday, Liam Finn consolidates the newfound strengths he developed while singing with Eliza Jane and playing with the Kiwi supergroup Barb. In particular, 2011’s Fomo retains a considerable amount of the spaciness of Barb’s eponymous 2010 album, but where that album intentionally drifted, this is anchored by Finn’s sharp songwriting, which still demonstrates a debt to his father Neil. Often, the album plays like an elastic interpretation of Try Whistling This, its textures stretching on waves of echoes and overdubbed harmonies, yet everything is always snapped back into focus by Liam's gift for melody.
When Liam Finn sings, “I knew I couldn’t have you / right from the very start / and that’s why you see right through me / the boy who ate your heart,” during FOMO’s earliest moments, he sounds humbled, but also resigned to his place in an existence often fraught with anxiety, obsession, maladjustment. It’s a good look on him, the Kiwi songwriter and son of Crowded House/Split Enz music vet, Neil. FOMO isn’t as long or excitable as Finn’s 2007 debut, I’ll Be Lightning, nor is at as aggressive or raucous as his live show, but that suits him just fine.
I’d love to tell you that Liam Finn is a songwriter of rare intuition and that his craft completely wipes away any small, nagging doubts about nepotism. I’d also love to recommend his album FOMO to a crowd of young listeners who suddenly find themselves giving a damn about the music scene in New Zealand thanks to Flight of the Conchords and the recent Crowded House reunion. And I’d certainly love to see Liam Finn continue to be taken seriously as an artist, even though his father is quite possibly one of the great songwriters of the southern hemisphere, and that FOMO will hold up against future scrutiny when people stop and reminisce about junior’s climb to the top.