Liam Finn: 'Better to Be'

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Liam Finn, a singer-songwriter based in New Zealand, takes a strong DIY approach to his first solo release, I'll Be Lightning. It's an impressive showcase of his multi-instrumental talents and catchy writing style, inspired by '60s experimental-acoustic pop.

Liam Finn's father, Neil Finn of Crowded House, lent his Roundhead studios for Liam to record I'll Be Lighting entirely with analog tape machines. Forgoing computer technology, the album has the comfortable and earnest feel of a homemade recording. Finn says the imperfections left behind in the unpolished production are similar to the raw, honest qualities of a demo.

Finn does most of the instrumental work onstage, looping guitar, bass and drums into a final cut for the audience which, he says, gives listeners something different from the ubiquitous one guitar, singer-songwriter setup.

"Better to Be" reveals Finn's love of pop melodies and experimental instrumentation. The blaring bassline below Finn's warm, raspy tenor is reminiscent of the Beatles and Beach Boys records Finn coveted as a child.

The song, typical of Finn's vivid and literary songwriting style, was written while he was in London touring with his other musical project, Betchadupa. "The songs are emotional so I was a little hesitant to show them to my band who are my three best mates," says Finn. "It just felt more natural to play these songs by myself."

Finn, who is already established in his hometown New Zealand, will have a U.S. tour with Pela in the spring and perform at SXSW 2008.

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