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Split Enz - The Beginnings of the Enz CD (album) cover


Split Enz


Crossover Prog

3.43 | 8 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars This is certainly about Beginnings, Split Ends (as they originally spelt it) started of as progressive folk bands, you can hear their humble beginnings with flute and vioin on the track Split Ends (with which the band named itself after that song) this is before even Eddie Raynor and Noel Crombie where a pair of creative dreamers, Tim (then called Brian) Finn and Phil Judd from Auckland University created what was the beginning of perhaps the greatist band to ever come out of New Zealand. Their is a definate marked evolution in the music, from Folk Prog, to Avant Garde to Symphonic Prog/Art Rock, the songs on this compilation are no longer than about five minutes because they are from a bunch of singles dated between 1972 - 1975, before thier first album Mental Notes, released around 1979. The first to songs are as I said earlier a pair of Folksy pieces without yet the insanity, then by the time pretty standard yet something in them that expressed a certain potential that these guy would develop. 129 marks the gradual start of their oddballness as they become more idiosyncratic adding vaudiville music and ellectric guitar, bass and drums, and saxophone (Rob Gillies would join the band briefly before returning to the fold in 1976). You can really hear greast things are destined for these guys as their music grows and develop, the mandolin really adds to the quirkyness. Home Sweet Home again another transitional piece from folk prog to the quirky madness, it starts with medieval kind of harpsichord before starting a folky piece then balanced off with electric guitar and a strange monologue (in a Kiwi voice of course) half way through the piece. There is something very NZ about the music yet its not forced (like a lot of NZ acts) its a very natural sound, ending in bagpipes. Sweet Talking Spoon really establishes the insanity, it starts of the insane vaudiville sound, with mandolin, they have become the Split Enz we know and love, I really love this, No Bother to Me and Malmsbury Villa (though at times Malmsbury sounds a bit Beatlesque but still like nothing before) they are like nothing I've ever heard before in Prog, its so unique, unashably eccentric the innocence makes Enz basically a mix of the Wiggles/Teletubbies and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. You must really check these three songs out they are an absolute must for prog fans!!! Tim is so delightfully old fashioned in his singing, you can here Noel Crombie using the Spoons on Sweet Talking Spoon Song, and Eddies appearance on dance hall piano produce a hugely unique experiance. I can't recommend these songs enough to you all. Lovey Dovey and Spellbound alsodo make it on Mental Notes and Second Thoughts (so does 129, albeit altered as as Matinee Idyll (129)). This version of Lovy Dovy is quite different from the Second Thoughts version both are good in their own way both are dynamic in different ways. Spellbound has Tim singing on this version rather than Phil, I find Tim's voice less disturbing than Phils and gives it a more relaxed feel. The only really negative thing about this compilation is that its only 28 minutes long, I do wish they added their 15 minute epic Nightmare Stampede on it, but perhaps it will see the light of day on an affordable compilation rather than an expensive box set. But many of these songs are just so unique I can't recommend them to you enough, although not perfect the idiosyncracies of the songs make this absolutely essential.
Cheesecakemouse | 5/5 |


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