Because dad Neil and son Liam have been popping up on stages and recordings together for years, you tend to take their collaboration for granted. But Lightsleeper marks the first time the two songwriters have made a full album together. This feels more surprising than it should.

What's not at all surprising is how musically rewarding a listen it is; the tension between Neil's pop supremacy and the nous of Liam's lo-fi experimentalist tendencies finding a comfy common ground that's a lot more out there and experimental than you might imagine.

With musicians of this pedigree you're not going to find a dud track. Each song is filled with little sonic details that are gradually revealed and melodies that take sudden turns to catch you off guard, but never sound anything less than completely natural and effortless.

For my money the 7-minute long opus Where's My Room is the best example of their respective strengths coming together. Kicking off as a languid, loose funk jam, the guitars eventually slip away as the song takes a Beatles-esque turn into classic Neil pop territory, before baroque disco strings hit and the whole thing breaks down into a wildly hallucinogenic, clattering freakout. It's brilliant.


But, really, the same can be said of nearly each of Lightsleeper's 11 tracks. We Know What It Means is a gorgeously relaxed track propelled by Mick Fleetwood's backbeat, while the floating psychedelia of Meet Me in the Air is waiting to take you away.

There's some fun to be had in guessing which Finn is responsible for which part of each song, but it's usually fairly clear. At least I think it is...

The emotion of Listen - which sees Neil back at his piano - floods you, and is the only song here that feels like it could be equally at home on his superb last record Out of Silence. That its followed immediately by the Liam-led, equally fantastic, Wilco-like, Any Other Way can't be accidental.

But it's the songs where their respective influence and unity blurs that feel really special, like on single Back to Life, the cinematic Hiding Place or the alt-country tinged Anger Plays a Part.

Lightsleeper may be the pair's first album together but I hope it's not their last. Don't sleep on this.


Neil and Liam Finn





Inertia Music / [PIAS]


Move aside Lennon/McCartney, we've got Finn/Finn