The second solo album by Liam Finn, the son of Neil Finn from Crowded House, is oddly titled FOMO. Apparently, this is an acronym I should’ve known which stands for “fear of missing out”. The album was co-produced by Burke Reid, former member of Australia’s Gerling; however the multi-talented Finn plays everything on the album himself.
A quote from Finn describes the music well; these are songs for “listeners who simply appreciate tunes that trigger tapping feet—or a lump in the throat.” It’s obvious from the start of the album that Finn is an excellent tunesmith. The melodies on FOMO are very satisfying and they linger in your head – not in that irritatingly catchy way – but in a way that just makes you want to hear them again and again. I’ve been floating around for a week with the lovely chorus from “Little Words” on my mind. The mood of the song is melancholy, but resistant to it; the lyrics conjure a stirring, distracted longing. There is a little electronic trill in the background throughout, along with cooing programming sounds, almost like small creatures in the woods, crawling through reverb. This goes well with the lyric about “ants on my computer”.
Another strong element of FOMO is the clever arrangement. The opening track “Neurotic World”, another album highlight, is arrestingly dreamy, with a quiet electronic beat pulsing in the background, like a liquid heartbeat. The chorus in “Real Late” has a cool bass groove interspersed with synthesizer; I can hear it in the background at a dark bar where people are eyeing each other.
“Cold Feet” is the obvious single with its fantastic chorus and 60s pop feel. This is another one I catch myself humming lately. There are ‘ah-ah’s’ and even some lazer sounds in the bridge, but somehow not a bit of it is cheesy. “Reckless” is both earnestly rocking and a good dance number, with its fun beat and sudden stop at the end. Finn’s straight, clear vocals are mussed up effectively on that track and in the closing song, the nervous, excited “Jump Your Bones” which buzzes and stammers with busy drums and distorted guitar. Not everyone could make a line like “I want to jump your bones” sound charming, but he manages it here. The sheer exuberance of it makes a great ending to the album.
Liam Finn is on tour this fall, including a stop at the Pearl Jam Festival, which features The Strokes and Queens of the Stoneage. Lucky for us, he plays The Echo on Oct. 6. I wouldn’t miss it.