Crowded House


Album: Time On Earth

Label: Ato Records/EMI

Released: July 10

*** (out of five)

It’s been two years since Crowded House drummer Paul Hester took his life, more than 10 years since the band played its last show and 21 years since hit single Don’t Dream It’s Over.

Such statistics might prompt cynics to wonder if Neil Finn and company have anything relevant to say or if this is an ’80s nostalgic cash grab. Thankfully, and not totally surprisingly, Time On Earth is a sweet, melodic and mature album, though forgivably a little sentimental at times.

Buffalo Tom

Album Three Easy Pieces

Label New West Records/Universal

Released July 10

*** (out of five)

After a seven-year hiatus from the studio, perennial alt-folk rockers Buffalo Tom are back to do what they do best — alt-folk rock.

There is an old-fashioned, working class, Springsteen-ishness to Three Easy Pieces. This is plaid shirt and ball cap rock for the indie postgraduate set. Though the album might have been better served by more variety, the Buffalo boys haven’t lost their chops or their ability to craft sharp, emotional, barstool rock.

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