Those lucky enough to get to the Chris Knox tribute concert a few years back will have spotted an early incarnation of this Neil Finn side project. However, the Pajama Club 2011 is a very different proposition.
What started off as fun late night jam sessions have grown into fully fledged pop project, with Neil and his wife Barbara being joined by SJD’s Sean Donnelly for their intriguing self-titled debut. With its nervy rhythms, squelchy electronics and multi-layered vocals, the influence of the latter is clearly apparent, as is the early DIY pop of Neil’s son Liam.
However, the Crowded House man’s way with melodies and distinctive voice can still be detected beneath the quirky sound-scapes. Standouts include the primitive funk of ‘These Are Conditions’, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-like swagger of ‘Go Kart’ and ‘Tell Me What You Want’, and ‘Daylight’, an inspired collision of Beatlesque harmonies and strutting synth-pop. It’s great to hear Finn having so much fun outside his comfort zone and while some of his more traditional fans might find it a bit challenging at first, the hushed slow-burner ‘Golden Child’ and the stately mellotron-infused ‘TNT For Two’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Crowd House album. A fun pajama party for all ages.