SPLIT ENZ & CROWDED HOUSE – PART 2

CH14

Weather with You (N Finn/T Finn) and Four Seasons In One Day (N Finn/T Finn)- Crowded House 1992

 Under pressure by Capitol to produce a third album, the brothers were in a creative partnership that had started out as a Finn Brothers project only to be subsumed into a Crowded House album and at the same time they were dealing with the rollercoaster of emotions contingent on changes in their personal lives. Tim was still pining for his lost love Greta Scacchi and Neil and Sharon were expecting their second child, meanwhile Nick Seymour was divorcing his wife Brenda Bentleigh, after being married for only four years.CH13Weather with You was one of several songs on the Woodface album in which the weather, be it the physical environment or one’s more intimate personal emotional climate, that figures prominently in the lyrics, and the mood and ambience of the songs. This was the first song the brothers wrote for the album, as Neil revealed to Performing MusicianWe started doing the strum that you hear at the beginning of the song, I came up with the little guitar figure, and the rest of the song fell out from there.” Tim had the lines “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you” and “Walking round the room singing Stormy Weather at 57 Mount Pleasant Street “which may have been a reference to their Melbourne address or a street with the same name in Auckland, where the brothers’ sister Carolyn used to live. Neil cleverly incorporated the mundane aspects of his everyday life and the things around him in the lyrics “There’s a small boat made of china/Going nowhere on the mantlepiece”  which helped to create the ambience of ennui or languishing that permeates the song. The opening chords are dream-like with jangly guitar riffs and subtle percussion by Ricky Fataar, until the first verse when the reverie is disturbed and the mood changes “Things ain’t cookin’ in my kitchen/ Strange afflictions wash over me/ Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire/ Couldn’t conquer the blue sky,’ are metaphorical references to a relationship that is troubled or failing.

The song explores the concept that within our personal space we create an environment that will reflect our emotional highs and lows and the way that others perceive us, the song  resonated with fans and hit #7 in the UK where there is a national obsession with the weather, #25 in Australia and top forty in another five European countries. The promo video was shot mostly at Queenscliffe Beach (Vic) and features a Ford Thunderbird “Bullet Bird” convertible and a Fiat 600 Multipla towing a small “Sports Minor” Caravanette. Weather With You was the Crowded House song that wore its Beatles influence on its sleeve and it is reminiscent of the Fab Four’s I’m Only Sleeping, a track on their Revolver album from 1966.CH42The weather theme was continued in Four Seasons In One Day, the title is an expression often used to describe the changeable weather in Melbourne and the brothers felt that this also accurately reflected their emotional state.CH15The 1993 award-winning promo video for the song was the first Crowded House video made in New Zealand, director Kerry Brown and producer Bruce Sheridan wanted to emphasise the surreal, fantasy elements of the song, using distinctly Kiwi imagery. Locations included beaches and dense bush on the west coast of NZ, the plains of Central Otago in the south, and the Victorian architecture of Oamaru. Scenes of an Anzac Day ceremony and marching girls also highlight the homeland setting. Brown took inspiration from Salvador Dali paintings for the psychedelic effects that were added in post-production.

This was the last single lifted from Woodface, it charted #26 in the UK and #55 in Australia, and the album would climb to #2 on the local album charts, #1 in NZ, #6  in UK, and top twenty in Canada and several other European locations. Changes would take place within and around the band, the brothers would fall out and Tim Finn would be sacked by Paul Hester as Neil couldn’t bring himself to do it, before the Woodface tour was completed, and producer Mitchell Froom would be replaced by Youth (Martin Glover), on the band’s fourth album Together Alone.CH60

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