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Split Enz - Second Thoughts (AKA Mental Notes) CD (album) cover

SECOND THOUGHTS (AKA MENTAL NOTES)

Split Enz

 

Crossover Prog

2.87 | 14 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars I picked up Split Enz's 'Second Thoughts' second hand and I am glad I did not not pay full price as it really is a lackluster effort. There is very little to recommend this apart from about four tracks that stand out above the rest of the mediocrity on offer here. The four tracks of note are Late Last Night, Walking Down a Road, Stranger Than Fiction and The Woman Who Loves You. All of these tracks are colourful, whimsical renditions of early Enz at its best. It is difficult to compare the brilliance, polish and precise rhythmic radio friendly sound of later Enz to these early efforts, but it is nonetheless an intriguing excursion into how this band developed from zany, unimbellished, brash prog to the crystal vocals and echoing synth of 'I Got You', 'Poor Boy' or '6 Months in a Leaky Boat' that are so familiar to Australian and New Zealand airwaves. However, Second Thoughts is not a complete waste.

The lyrics are questionable but suit the off kilter music admirably. For instance lyrics from Stranger then Fiction include:

And even her friend the hippyman With his tarot cards to play Drowning in his sea of words Why he never has much to say And I've seen him standing by the river Singing to the birds Just like the mystic says Be careful of what you say Talking to himself he needs no one To help him on his way At nights I've heard him screaming Through the candle flame Oh please don't leave me alone Please don't leave me alone

The guitar work is adequate enough as well as Tim's vocals but of course all that sound changes with the introduction of new members on the next albums, namely Neil Finn, so this album has become somewhat of a curiosity.

The costumes and makeup too disappeared over the years. I was fortunate enough to see these early stage costumes on this album cover at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney some years back. They were startling and suited the ambience and mood of the music. Time for a change features some great piano and contrasts to the rest of the album but it is the full band material that fulfills the best moments on the album. When they all strike up, the sound is incredible.

The band did improve on their next album and hit the charts to become one of the most prolific Oz/NZ artists. Overall, I recommend you grab this from a bargain bin and enjoy Split Enz in their early incarnation - but of course do not hesitate to get 'True Colours', 'Corroborree' and 'Time and Tide' for quintessential Split Enz.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 2/5 |

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