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Split Enz - Mental Notes CD (album) cover


Split Enz


Crossover Prog

4.11 | 61 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Mental Notes is probably one of the most underrated records of all time. It is truly beutiful and underrated. Most people know the Split Enz from their pop music though the start of there discography is an amazing prog album fronted by Phil Judd and Tim Finn

By the start of the album, you can tell this is prog. This is "Walking Down a Road." A sound fades in that almost sounds it is underwater and climbs up to drums and bass with a beutiful meldody following brought by gutair and keyboards. The beginning of this song is amazing and is good and steady, however, around the two minute mark, it sort of looses it's tempo and the rest of the song seems a little scattered. The begaining is sort of reprised done well but the second part of this song kind of looses itself. Although it does get scattered it's still quite nice

The second song on the album starts with creepy keyboard and a dark sounding intro. This is "Under the Wheel." It is seven minutes being the longest track on Mental Notes. The lyrics of this song were written by Phil Judd, and they are dark about his struggle with drug abuse and other depression problems. The melodies are dark and creepy after the first stanza and at one point through, it get's bizarre for a quick 9 seconds, they get wild and crazy and sort of insane, and in a split second go back as before. After a few moments we get Phil Judd screaming "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!" After this comes poetry about death. The album ends with piano and some melodies and slowing ends with the sound of a river. This song isn't the scariest ever, but quite strange and definitely a masterpiece.

The third track cheers us up more as a love song. This is called "Amy (Darling)." It is a personal favorite of mine, with an amazing melody around the minute and a half mark. At one point the song stops and you just hear crickets. The song ends with some satisfying touches. One of my favorite parts of this album.

The albums next track is "So Long For Now." This is not as good as Amy or many other tracks on the album, though it has some nice moment. Though there isn't much memorable in it.

The next track is probably the best on the album. "Stranger Than Fiction." It starts with a melody on the synthesizers and goes right into a spacy feel after this. It's like this until the minute and a half mark. When the drums take you down to a frightening part with poetry that sounds like Edgar Alan Poe and laughing babies. In the background, you here strange mechanical sounds and piano. Then you hear, Tim Finn sing-speak "It's a story, of my LIFE!" And it all explodes into it's earlier spacy feel. After a few minutes of this part, you hear children playing and Finn singing with some scatting too. This continues by a part mostly heard by the gutair and drums and a strange whistling. This is followed by the songs spacy meldies and another lyric break with more scat. The song ends with it's starting synthosizer meldody. Astonishing.

Stranger Than Fiction leads into the next song, "Time For a Change." This is slow, brought by piano. It soon erupts into more mellotron. This song ends very well, though i often listen to it right after Stranger Than Fiction, for it doesn't sound as different.

After our 9 minutes of slow and beautiful bitter sweetness, we get a very happy fun tune. "Maybe." I really LOVE this one. It's an overall guilty pleasure tune with much fun and love seen in it. Sung by both Judd and Finn, with piano leading it all. It ends with a reprising scat melody.

The next track on the album is called "Titus". They use a ukulele through this. This song is okay, but not as good as Maybe. I do love the near end of it though near 2 and a half minutes though.

And here is the grand finally, "Spellbound." Started by what sounds line a gong. Then comes a small build up over an accusitc gutair including the same whistling from stranger than fiction and piano with a few small guitar licks, it then gives us a melody and Judd sings. The song is very positive in lyrics, "The way things are, we'll get there in the end, the way things are, we won't have to pretend, that were all spellbound."

Suddenly, Spellbound comes to an end and we get the 35 second title track, ending us at a weird place.

If you're looking for an underrated prog rock album, i highly recommend this debut that was introduced to me by my aunt. And that's why I give it four stars.


1. Stranger Than Fiction 2. Under the Wheel 3. Amy (Darling) 4. Maybe 5. Walking Down a Road 6. Spellbound 7. So Long For Now 8. Titus 9. Time For a Change 10. Mental Notes

Favorite quote from album: "Death, glorious death, is just another bed to sleep. Yes, death, glorious death, is just another appointment to keep." -From "Under the Wheel"

A_Flower | 4/5 |


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