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Split Enz - The Best of Split Enz CD (album) cover


Split Enz

Crossover Prog

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Symphonic Team
3 stars This compilation is yet another marketable cash in to promote perhaps the best NZ crossover prog band and as usual the CD captures the singles that dominated the NZ/Australian charts in the 70s and 80s. It is not the best compilation on offer, for that you will have to get hold of "Spellbound", however some of the famous singles are on offer, the quintessential Split Enz classics, History Never Repeats, Bold as Brass, I See Red, I Got You, One Step Ahead, Six Months in a Leaky Boat, Message to My Girl and My Mistake. This is a very strange compilation of the so called best of the Enz as it is missing the magnificent tracks Dirty Creature, Shark Attack, Poor Boy, and I Hope I Never which were all monster hits for the band. I can't believe they omitted one of my favourites Poor Boy! Instead the first 10 tracks are all based on the very early Enz years which were a more proggier band in those days. This is perhaps a good thing for prog fans as they get to hear how the band transformed in both image and sound. It is quite an ear opener.

From the raw debut 1975's "Mental Notes" are Amy (Darling) and Time For a Change. From the proggier "Second Thoughts" in 1976 are Titus, Late Last Night, Matinee Idyll and Lovey Dovey. From 1977's "Dizrhythmia" are Crosswords, Bold as Brass and My Mistake.

The tide changed in 1979 with I See Red from "Frenzy". However the success of this single was pale in comparison the incredible impact of I Got You which was number one for weeks and was featured on the impressive career changing "True Colours" in 1980. After this the Enz released one hit single after another having tapped into a mainstream market.

The weird kabuki makeup and garish clown costumes were replaced with female attracting suits and coiffed hair. Gradually the band became accessible as a marketable group worldwide. The follow up album in 1981 was "Corroboree", successful with the blockbusting hits One Step Ahead and History Never Repeats. The band had one more hit album with "Time and Tide" with the top ten single Six Months in a Leaky Boat. The party turned sour after that with the mediocre "Conflicting Emotions" with one major drawcard, the single Message to My Girl in 1983. This compilation and many others ignored completely the followup which was the sub standard "See Ya Round".

This compilation features those songs mentioned though there was so much more. A good little taster for a compilation consisting of a chronological history of the band, that does not ignore its early less known prog related years of the 70s.

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Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Review Permalink

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