Crowded House – Woodface

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Woodface

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  • This original import copy of Woodface boasts very good Hot Stamper sound from start to finish
  • A special pressing with hard-to-find exceptionally quiet vinyl – this copy plays Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus, as quiet as they come
  • Thankfully the care and effort that went into every aspect of the production of Woodface more than justifies the effort we put into finding good copies
  • Some of the most original, melodic, hook-laden, sophisticated popular music recorded in the last twenty-seven years
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The songs are easily their finest to date, combining flawless melodies and the outstanding harmonies of the brothers’ perfectly matched voices.”

The best copies of Woodface fulfill the promise of this extraordinarily well-recorded album beyond all expectations. The effect so totally immerses you in the musical experience that you forget you’re listening to a record at all. In your mind, you have the sense that you’re hearing the music exactly the way the musicians, producers, and engineers intended it to sound. The sound is everything you want it to be as you experience every element of the music without limitation.

It only happens when the right record meets the right stereo, and that means rarely, but when it does the memory of the sound becomes fixed in the mind like no other, and it never leaves. 

Music That Matters

Unlike some Hot Stamper records — no names please — this is an album whose MUSIC demands to be heard in the highest quality sound. That can only mean one thing: a Hot Stamper pressing playing on a Killer Stereo.

Woodface easily meets the definition of a Desert Island Disc. I’ve played it hundreds of times and enjoy it more with each play, which ensures that on my desert island I’ll never get sick of it. To my way of thinking it contains some of the most original, melodic, hook-laden, sophisticated popular music recorded in the last twenty seven years. Astonishingly (to me, anyway) it didn’t even chart here in the states, a sad commentary about the state of the music biz, a state that only seems to worsen as the decades roll on.

When people ask me what kind of music I like, a common question from non-audiophiles seeing a house full of records and a custom sound room stuffed with equipment and room treatments, Crowded House is one band I’m happy to name-check (10cc and Roxy Music and Little Feat being a bit obscure to most people by now).

Sophisticated Pop Albums with Audiophile Quality Sound make up a large part of my record collection, with Crowded House taking its place up near the top, not on the same plane as The Beatles, say, but not that far below either. Woodface is a record that belongs no less in your collection than it does in mine.

As often happens in these shootouts, the best sounding copy and the worst sounding copy both had exactly the same stamper numbers. The other stampers were somewhere in the middle.

Shootout Criteria (What To Listen For)

What are the sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record — any Pop or Rock record — should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.

When we can get many of the qualities above to come together on the side we’re playing we provisionally award it a Hot Stamper grade, which may or may not be revised over the course of the shootout as we hear what the various other copies sound like. Once we’ve been through all our side ones, we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner. Other copies have their grades raised or lowered depending on how they sounded relative to the shootout winner. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.

That’s why the most common grade for a White Hot stamper pressing is Triple Plus (A+++) on one side and Double Plus (A++) on the other. Finding the two best sounding sides from a shootout on the same LP certainly does happen, but is sure doesn’t happen as often as we would like (!) — there are just too many variables in the mastering and pressing processes to insure consistent quality.

Record shootouts may not be rocket science, but they’re a science of a kind, one with strict protocols developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can possibly make them.

The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing — or your money back.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Chocolate Cake
It’s Only Natural
Fall At Your Feet  
Tall Trees
Weather With You
Whispers And Moans
Four Seasons In One Day

Side Two

There Goes God 
Fame Is
All I Ask
As Sure As I Am
Italian Plastic
She Goes On
How Will You Go

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

Where Crowded House’s previous album, Temple of Low Men, showcased the often dark side of a man alone with his thoughts, Woodface represents the joy of reunion and the freedom of a collaborative effort — more than half of the album was originally conceived as a Finn Brothers project, which was Tim and Neil’s first crack at writing together. The songs are easily their finest to date, combining flawless melodies and the outstanding harmonies of the brothers’ perfectly matched voices.