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Split Enz - Dizrythmia CD (album) cover


Split Enz


Crossover Prog

3.40 | 32 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Dizrhythmia' is a title chosen to reflect the organised chaos of the SPLIT ENZ sound. It invites you to imagine something spinning out of control, and piques the progger's interest even before the record is played. So it has a great deal to live up to. Sadly, it doesn't quite manage it. PHIL JUDD is gone - for those who want to know what he did, get hold of the zany retro single, 'Counting the Beat' - and this band rapidly becomes TIM FINN's. His younger brother NEIL joins the band - more of that in the 1980s. For now, we have an intriguing pastiche of styles to listen to.

We get vaudeville, we get blues, we get prog rock: the style is irrelevant, really, as it's all just a stage for the band's quirkiness. Witness the two opening singles: made for radio - the second of them is still played here in New Zealand on occasion - but far too weird to have appealed to the record buying public. Even when they're trying to go straight, these boys can't help themselves. Others hear 10CC in their music, I hear SUPERTRAMP. Just listen to the wonderfully quirky reggae pop song 'My Mistake', the most memorable track on the album: it could have been issued by the Tramp. 'Parrot Fashion Love' is ENZed-up blues, and 'Sugar and Spice' is just crazy funk. The proggiest moments are 'Without a Doubt' and the simply crazy 'Jamboree', the latter an album's worth of ideas compressed into six zany minutes. 'Crosswords' is actually quite frighteningly insane, part agonised plea, part knees-up, and far too short.

And that's SPLIT ENZ's problem, really: they never learned how to capitalise on their ideas. At their best in the 70s they were interestingly different, but a superior band could have made something outstanding from this undercooked melange. Their choices were simple: either extend the material, so the motifs and ideas had room to breathe, or reduce the number of ideas. That they chose the latter course and become a successful new-wave band is a matter of history, but it's a second-best choice for a prog audience.

russellk | 3/5 |


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