Neil Finn hails from New Zealand but makes his living as the lead singer of the Australian band Crowded House. The new Crowded House album, “Intriguer,” isn’t technically the group’s reunion record; that was “Time On Earth,” which came out in 2007.

Neil Finn hails from New Zealand but makes his living as the lead singer of the Australian band Crowded House.


The new Crowded House album, “Intriguer,” isn’t technically the group’s reunion record; that was “Time On Earth,” which came out in 2007.


But that record only had four new songs. On “Intriguer,” though, everything is fresh. And it’s for that reason that “Intriguer,” released this month, has been so eagerly awaited by Crowded House fans craving new music. While the record is a tad uneven, it sounds wonderfully energized.


“It’s an organic thing,” said Nick Seymour, Crowded House’s bassist. “It was a combination of arrangements that took place from touring following the 'Time On Earth' album. But we really got to know each other again on tour and we gained back the collective consciousness that allows us to take verses and choruses and find structures at sound checks and jam in front of audiences. It’s essentially an album of the live essence of Crowded House.”


Originally formed in 1985 in Melbourne, Crowded House gained international success in the late ’80s and early ’90s on the back of “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” “Something So Strong” and a pallet of other hits from lead singer and principal songwriter, Neil Finn, that made for an especially devoted international fan base. In 1996, the group mounted what was then described as its final tour, with Finn opting to focus on a solo career.


Several members of Crowded House – including Finn, Seymour and multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart – got together in 2006 after drummer Paul Hester committed suicide in 2005. The announcement that the band was starting up again came in January 2007. And after a few months of auditions, drummer Matt Sherrod (“a gift of positive energy,” as Seymour describes him) was added.


“Time On Earth,” which included a Steve Lillywhite-produced single, “Don’t Stop Now,” in addition to three other new songs and slate of material that Finn had prepared for a solo release, was well-received, as were their live performances in support of it.


Work on “Intriguer” began in April 2009 at Finn’s Roundhead Studios, with producer Jim Scott, best known for his work with Wilco, at the controls.


“He has a real swap-meet mentality,” Seymour said of Scott and his penchant for unique sounds. “It does sound like classic Crowded House in some ways, but there are instruments like the vocoder ... well, I can’t imagine Neil ever deliberately writing a song for vocoder. With Jim at the helm, he sculpted such a lush, simple, beautiful tone in the control room and we’d be falling over ourselves to take the headphones off in the studio and rush back and listen. Nine times out of 10, we liked it right away. And what we realized was that we were recording these songs similarly to how we did it the very first time we were recording together.”


Seymour said that when Crowded House started touring again, any nervousness was gone in an instant. It’s reflected in the band’s shows, which since 2007 have been stellar.


“We seem to be getting closer and closer to another collective consciousness that is egging us on,” Seymour said. “It’s a happy chemistry – we push each other’s buttons in a way in which you look forward to the gig every night, or look forward to going into the studio again.


“It’s a funny machine, Crowded House. It’s very organic, and I think we’re probably at the top of our game.”


The “idiosynchracies,” Seymour said, that drove the band apart seem to be water under the bridge, too.


“Perhaps we’re aging gracefully,” he said, laughing.