“Temple of Low Men was one of the most critically acclaimed yet commercially neglected releases of the late '80s” (CdUniverse.com). “This stunner of an album is an expression of the thrills and dangers of fame” (CdUniverse.com). “Following the success of Crowded House's debut…Neil Finn was clearly showing signs that he was no longer happy being New Zealand's zany ambassador to the U.S. While the material…demonstrates great leaps in quality over its predecessor, it is a darkly difficult album, especially for those expecting Crowded House, Pt. 2” (Woodstra). “Neil digs into the depths of his emotional psyche with obsessive detail, crafting a set of intense, personal songs” (Woodstra) that reveal him as “weary, displeased, unhappy, and a little bit God-fearing” (Starostin).
“Through all of this introspective soul-searching, Finn reveals, most of all, his true mastery of melody” (Woodstra). “The decade that introduced sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek references…needs its share of albums like these” (Starostin). This “is a superb follow-up to Crowded House” (CdUniverse.com).
“The record…open[s] innocently enough” (Starostin) “with the gorgeous I Feel Possessed” (CdUniverse.com), “a song very much in the debut album vein, only emphasized by this strange buzzing keyboard sound in the background…almost sounds like Mellotron…but…it's probably just an organ” (Starostin).
The album “drifts into menacing territory” (Starostin) with “the raucous exorcism of Kill Eye” (Woodstra), a “power pop anthem…with a killer bassline, great jarring guitar melodies, more of that ominous organ buzz and Finn at his most paranoid - screaming 'I wanna be forgiven! I wanna laugh with children! Won't you ever forgive me?' It's not really ‘scary,’ because Finn can't bring himself to writing (and arranging) a truly scary song, but it's certainly disturbing to some extreme. And if the powerhouse brass lines do seem at times to be lifted from 'Lady Madonna', well, it's just a natural chain of evolution” (Starostin).
There’s the “lyrically disturbing” and “all-too intimate look at infidelity” (Woodstra) of Into Temptation, "where Finn comes so close to adultery that you can almost feel it” CdUniverse.com). You “wonder whether Finn really means it when he sings 'the guilty get no sleep in the last slow hours of morning, the experience is cheap, I should've listened to the warning' or if he means, well, something else. And in the meantime, there's more of that organ sound enveloping you…He could have used generic ‘heavenly’ synth tones of the times, but he prefers to construct something radically different for the background” (Starostin).
“In the next song, Finn boldly proclaims that 'I'd much rather have a caravan in the hills than a Mansion in the Slums…the overall sound fully compensates for its indirectness…it emphasizes everything that rules about the Crowded House sound. Big, massive drums, and at the same time not at all electronic, just brought high up in the mix. Free-flowing, breathing bass. Unprocessed jangly guitars. Lots of fat keyboards - pianos, organs…Plus, there's that singing - so lively and humane” (Starostin). “Everything so natural and ‘anti-synthetic’” (Starostin).
“Finn is always a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to creative ways of describing coital bliss, and this collection contains the debut of the first of many paeans to the orgasm, the not-so-subtly titled When You Come" (CdUniverse.com). ”The charm of [the song] is rooted in his singing - one word: ‘modulation.’ He goes from one note to another, stretches out when necessary, he knows the secrets of this profession almost as well as, say, Jeff Lynne, easily the best ‘voice modulator’ of the preceding decade” (Starostin).
Sister Madly is “a boppy jazzy composition with the drummer boy taking up the brushes and the great Richard Thompson himself guesting on guitar (delivering a short, but fun, solo). Great catchy chorus too” (Starostin).
Better Be Home Soon, which is the most beautiful song Crowded House ever crafted, is a bit of an answer to the infidelity that tempted Neil on “Into Temptation.” It is here “where his opportunity for redemption lies, the emotion is palpable in every line” (CdUniverse.com). It is “a suave folksy ballad that could be rendered hideous through generic production, but with its reliance on acoustic guitars and more of that electric jangle, it turns out marvelous - and presents a suitably optimistic, heart-warming conclusion” (Starostin).