1986 – Not the best year for recording quality
This original domestic pressing offers two superb sides for Crowded House’s wonderful debut.
Note that this copy won our shootout on side one, and since side one has the best batch of songs here, that works out well for everyone who loves great sounding sophisticated pop music, a group that includes us to be sure.
1986 – Not a great year for recording quality!
- Exhibit A: Paul Simon’s Graceland.
- Exhibit B: Peter Gabriel’s So.
I rest my case. Fortunately for us audiophiles, Crowded House’s debut here is big, rich, smooth, natural and, above all, ANALOG. (I really don’t know if it is actually is analog or not, but it sounds like analog, and that’s really all that matters.)
Musically side one is absolutely brilliant from first note to last. Crowded House may have wanted to be the New Beatles, but those are some pretty big shoes to fill. They fell a bit short — who can compete with The Beatles? — but in their heyday, 1985-1993, they were better at making intelligent, original, melody-driven pop than practically any other group I was listening to at the time.
(We love Squeeze’s albums from this period as well but the ’80s sound is just too processed and artificial on even the best pressings to be enjoyed on modern high-resolution audiophile equipment.)
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 namecheck (10cc and Roxy Music and Little Feat being a bit too obscure for 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 an album that I have played many hundreds of times over the course of the last twenty years and have yet to tire of.)
The first Crowded House album is a record that belongs no less in your collection than it does in mine. Their songs still get played on the radio and to these ears they’re holding up just fine. (more…)