Wiltshire based Phil Cooper is a singer/songwriter who produces music reminiscent of Crowded House, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, XTC and R.E.M. He has had his music introduced by Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music.
Here, Phil professes his love of Neil Finn; one of the musical masterminds behind one of New Zealand’s finest exports…Crowded House.
I know many bands struggle when they are asked ‘who do you sound like?’, but for me, I’ve never been ashamed to hold my head up and say ‘If you like Crowded House, you will like my music.’
Neil Finn is, in my opinion, the finest songwriter of a generation. A seemingly endless ability to tap in to melodies that feel like they must have always existed, and yet, without him, they wouldn’t.
I grew up in a music loving family (my Dad and older Brother also play guitar), and I was always surrounded by music. Many of the artists I was exposed to at a young age (The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Buddy Holly) continue to have an influence on my own songwriting, but Woodface, by Crowded House was the first album I ever thought of as my own discovery. I must have been about 11, and played it to death on my walkman.
There was (and still is) quite literally nothing I didn’t love about the album. I loved the variety of songs on there, from the snarling sarcastic opener, Chocolate Cake through to the sweet, sweet balladry of How Will You Go, via fun tracks like Weather With You, There Goes God, and absolute classics like Fall At Your Feet and Four Seasons In One Day. I loved the harmonies, I loved Neil’s effortlessly melodic vocals, I loved the playful nature of his (and of course, Tim’s) lyrics.
As I grew older and started to investigate the rest of the Crowded House catalogue, I found even more to love. Each album contains such variety, but always embedded in incredible melodies. From there I moved on to Neil’s solo albums, and only then did I start to dig back into the early Split Enz stuff.
With such a vast and undisputable talent, he should be a household name, but I think the reason he isn’t is down to another one of the reasons I admire him so much… his down to earth, humble nature. Typically for a New Zealander, he takes nothing for granted, never letting his ego take over, and always being unashamedly honest. Something I also try to be influenced by in my own career.
The rehearsal and recording sessions for his most recent solo album were all live streamed, in a pioneering move to include his audience in the process. Every mistake, every conversation about the direction of the music was open to his fans. It’s this authenticity which keeps me coming back for more, and makes me a fan of the man as well as the music.
Many thanks to Phil for taking the time to profess his love of Crowded House and Neil Finn. You can get Phil online at his Official Website. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. Below, you can listen to his cover of Fall At Your Feet (and snag it as a free download if you so desire!)