The Clean's David Kilgour and Split Enz's Tim and Neil Finn occupied opposite ends of the New Zealand guitar-pop explosion of the early '80s, and they've all survived into the '00s primarily by holding a fixed position. Kilgour crawls out of seclusion every few years with another offbeat record of subtle reveries, while the Finns, alone and together, like their jangle loud and clear and their hooks as big as a continent.
On Everyone Is Here, the Finns collaborate with powerhouses like Jon Brion, Tony Visconti, Mitchell Froom, and Bob Clearmountain, but the two brothers, guitar-to-guitar and voice-to-voice, are what make songs like the surging "Anything Can Happen" sound like a brightly lit rock amusement park. Everyone Is Here bounces from one impeccably tuneful pop song to another, hitting peaks with the uptempo, wizened "Homesick," the punch-drunk "A Life Between Us," the string-wrapped ballad "Edible Flowers," and the elegant, elegiac album-closer "Gentle Hum." The Finn Brothers' preference for strength and sonic perfection verges on the featureless in the tracks between those pillars, but fans of classy, hummable rock shouldn't mind.
Those who prefer more fog should snag Kilgour's Frozen Orange, which is every bit as catchy in its way, even with the intentional interference of Kilgour's impressionistic lyrics and the musical contributions from scattered Lambchop members. "The Waltz" sets the tone, with spare strumming and waves of billowing instrumentation taking up more space than Kilgour's elliptical fish story. Producer Mark Nevers emphasizes vamping, letting songs rev up and down in such a way that listeners can imagine them still existing somewhere outside the disc itself. On the driving "Living In Space," the lounge-y "Gold In Sound," and the cosmic country song "Blue Sky," Kilgour sounds like he's in some kind of happy trance, letting the ocean air and a portable radio carry him away.