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Split Enz - Frenzy CD (album) cover


Split Enz


Crossover Prog

2.80 | 23 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars 'Frenzy' is SPLIT ENZ's transitional album. The prog rock sound of their debut was only ever a vehicle for the band's zaniness, and the the musical climate of the times demanded it be cast aside. This the ENZ did with no regrets, and went on to craft some compelling new-wave pop music in the early 1980s. This album falls neatly between the two ENZ eras: a thousand mediocre ideas thrown about in the recording studio, this time sliced thirteen rather than nine ways.

'I See Red' is iconic ENZ, summarising everything about their frantic, unhinged sound in one new wave track: fast-paced, keyboard and guitar driven, with a huge chorus hook still used at sports venues in New Zealand. There are magic moments in many of the other songs- the end of 'Give it a Whirl' could have been expanded, for example - but the band were contracting their sound, making it manageable. While this gave them great success with their next album, 'True Colours', it leaves them between stools here. Worse, the vocals are too far back in the mix, rendering the sound even more hesitant than it ought to be. Most of the songs are merely cleverly arranged fluff. The passion is gone; this is music to ensure economic survival, and it doesn't work, as evidenced by such clunkers as 'Hermit McDermitt', a waste of vinyl. Occasionally they get it right, as with 'Betty' and 'Abu Dhabi', but those songs excepted this is rather a miserable effort.

If you want the proggy SPLIT ENZ, go for their debut album. If you want the well-crafted, dreamy pop they later become famous for, grab 'True Colours' or go listen to NEIL FINN's CROWDED HOUSE. Just don't bother with this.

russellk | 2/5 |


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