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Split Enz - Dizrythmia CD (album) cover

DIZRYTHMIA

Split Enz

 

Crossover Prog

3.33 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

By the time they went into recording their third album, SE had underwent some line-up changes with Judd departing. There were more stool-swappings, but it was clear that SE's move to the UK was not an easy one (unlike for instance AC/DC who had family there, to make the transition easier) and their survival was forcing the group to morph into something that had to succeed quickly in order to put food on the table. So drummer Noel Crombie started their weird glam-looks that made them appear between The Sparks, The Tubes, Talking Heads and NY Dolls. Musically the group developed a pop rock with prog overtones that would be between The Sparks, Queen and the whole thing pushed by Roxyman Manzanera, even if he didn't produced this album.

The drive towards commercial success drove the group to forget their prog roots a little more with each new release, but you still get some large glimpses at it with their third album. The main difference is that compared to the debut album, the brass/wind instruments are adding a more pop touch as opposed to Judd's guitar. Indeed Finn's younger brother was still probably a little too inexperienced to fill Judd's shoes and most likely a good deal of space was given to

Most likely the first two songs of the album should ring a bell to those paying attention to that clever pop-rock that was never really as simple as it sounded: Bold And Brass and My Mistake received (and still do) the odd radio airplay, due to their entertaining pop song format, where the music is impeccably played, but not really riveting, either. Parrot Fashion Love is clearly one of those pastiche songs that abounded in 10 CC, Queen and The Sparks' oeuvre, and again is deceptively simple: the arrangements are anything but simple, the group being a septet, they could "complicate" things as will and often, they are not afraid of doing so. The same thing can be said for Without a Doubt, which still takes its time to have an intro (this will be the last album where they will do, it as the following album Frenzy will have 13 tracks that go straight to the point), slowly crescendos into an almost AOR ballad then declining to a stop (this is not often done as the solo spot is almost ambient) only to pick up again to its previous pace. Easily the album's best track, and a glimpse of what they did on their debut Mental Notes.

Crossroads (or Crosswords) is an incredibly zany piece that can only lead you into insanity as the group makes sure that your are probably lead to the asylum and not be able to find your way back. This track is a bit too short, IMHO, and it would've been great had they kept on for two more minutes provided they kept digging into their madness. In its first part, Charlie cannot really match up to such an impressive predecessor, and sounds a bit like a mid-tempo filler (but well-made), even if the lyrics subject are anything but bland. The middle section is again quite impressive, rather unusual and leading to the return of the opening motif but done much better. Nice To Know is a slow pop rock that has an impressive bass line, and great brass works, but fails to build on what had been done before on the flipside of the vinyl. Starting out on a Tony Banks-like piano intro, Jamboree than another transitional second passage, before jumping in a weird pop groove where SE definitely lets loose their strangeitude (reminiscent of Hackett's madness of his early solo albums) and it's hard not to like if you're a proghead.

While the prog content on this album might appear a little low, it is a relatively deceptive impression as there are plenty of moments that are full-blown prog, but you'll have to dig them out. Definitely worth your checking out, I'll round up the rationg to its upper unit, until more progheads start rating this album once they've discovered it.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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