everyone_is_hereListen to this track from Kiwi brethren and Split Enz/Crowded House alumni Tim and Neil Finn, AKA Finn Brothers with a deep cut from their second collaborative LP under that name Everyone is Here released in 2004.  It’s “Disembodied Voices”, a rootsy pop tune about the late-night exchanges between brothers in the same room as children, as remembered by those brothers many years later.

The Finn brothers, in many ways, are the anti-Davies (as in Ray and Dave of the Kinks), or the anti-Noel and Liam. These brothers get along.  And more to that, they have common memories of childhood, those that hold them together, and that they each cherish.  And that’s what this song is about, packed with childhood innocence, and reducing the passage of time to a simple footnote, a mere detail, that pales in comparison to the memory itself; “talking with my brother while we wait for sleep, down the hallway forty years ago”.

The “forty years ago” is less important as the details of the conversation, the connection between two people who happen to be brothers.  It could be anywhere.  That’s the power of memory, and the power of translating that memory into song.

The record off of which this comes was the more refined of the two, to date, albums under the Finn Brothers name.  The first was the comparatively low-fi album titled simply Finn and with a feel as if the two men had a meal and a couple of glasses of wine, and then knocked off the record in a single night – in a good way, of course. But, this second release was the full Finn monty. It’s a well-crafted record that pulls in the strengths of both men – harmony, hooks, and the ineffable quality of two singer-songwriters who have complementary, yet similar textures when approaching the business of creating memorable pop music.  It helps that Crowded House producer Mitchell Froom was on the production desk, and Jon Brion weighed in on guitars to back up the two Finns.

I saw the Finns on their tour of this record at the Orpheum Theatre here in Vancouver.  The two men, with full band, worked through the songs on this record, their previous one, plus songs from Crowded House and Split Enz.  I got the feeling that these guys were not only putting on a show for us.  They were celebrating something of their shared history.  The two boys chatting in the dark had grown up, and were sharing their conversation with us.  With songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s coming at us, that place in the darkness could have been anywhere, too.

For more information about Finn Brothers, check out the Finn Brothers entry on Wikipedia.

For Neil Finn and Crowded House news, check out crowdedhouse.com.

And for Tim Finn updates and music, investigate timfinn.com.


Finn Brothers image thanks to Elmo Keep.


9 thoughts on “Finn Brothers Sing ‘Disembodied Voices’

  1. Beautiful song. I love pretty much everything the Finn brothers have done. Their voices, although with notable similarities, have different qualities but harmonize together so well.

    I have fond memories of “talking with my sister when the lights went out” (with my other sister telling us to shut up and go to sleep).

    1. Hi Leslie,

      I love songs and stories about what it was like as a child, and about memory. This one has both, with the affection just shimmering off of the thing.

      Thanks for comments, as always!

  2. I love these guys. I saw Crowded House at a free show in Sydney on the Opera House steps. I think it was billed as the last Crowded House show ever at the time. Not sure if that’s true or not.

    1. Andrew, you managed to see a very good show that was recorded for posterity on the band’s Farewell to the World double-live record, and the last time Paul Hester appeared behind the drum kit.

      I envy you!

      1. My Kiwi cousin-by-marriage saw Crowded House in 2007 or 2008. His company treated the employees to the concert. Lucky employees!

        I didn’t realize until just now, when I googled it, that Paul Hester had died. How very sad. 😦

      2. Yes, Leslie; Hester suffered from bipolar disorder. He committed suicide as a result, in 2005. The reformation of Crowded House started at a Finn Brothers show in England, when Nick Seymour joined them onstage in tribute to their former bandmate. A good deal of the songs on the comeback record are centered around dealing with Hester’s death.

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