Album: Crowded House, Intriguer (Mercury)

A Beatles-influenced four-piece from New Zealand never did sound promising.

So it's hard to say why Neil Finn's group are held in such esteem. Hard to say, but probably something to do with this. Most pop operates in a realm where it has to sound happy or sad: songs for a sunny day when you want to throw the windows open, or music for a rainy day when you'd be happy not to see a soul. Crowded House's music, at its best, does both of these things at the same time. Intriguer is as good as sunshine-melancholia gets.