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Split Enz

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Split Enz True Colours album cover
2.99 | 37 ratings | 9 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Shark Attack (2:57)
2. I Got You (3:27)
3. What's the Matter with You (3:06)
4. Double Happy (3:25)
5. I Wouldn't Dream of It (3:19)
6. I Hope I Never (4:32)
7. Nobody Takes Me Seriously (3:28)
8. Missing Person (3:36)
9. Poor Boy (3:25)
10. How Can I Resist Her (3:30)
11. The Choral Sea (4:40)

Total Time 39:25

Bonus tracks on 2006 remaster:
12. Things
13. Two of a Kind

Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Finn / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Neil Finn / guitar vocals
- Eddie Raynor / keyboards
- Noel Crombie / percussion
- Nigel Griggs / bass
- Malcom Green / drums

Releases information

Produced and Engineered by David Tickle

Remastered by Eddie Rayner and Adrien Stucky at Bignote Studios Australia March/April 2006

Thanks to cheesecakemouse for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SPLIT ENZ True Colours ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (22%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SPLIT ENZ True Colours reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is the first album I picked up from Split Enz. I'd heard & been mesmerized by the single I Got You. When I saw it at a pawn shop I jumped, especially because it had the laser etched vinyl. Being the early 80s when new wave was still a "genre" rather than a cliche, this album fit in well with the Cars, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and others. And like the best of the bunch, Split Enz had a distinct ability to write great pop songs. It is true that prog snobs will not find much if anything to cheer for here. But in the overall career view re : the Enz, it stood up as among the best they offered through their long career.

Song-wise, here goes ... as mentioned, I Got You is one of those songs , that once it's caught your ears, it stays implanted in your brain. Typical boy girl lyrics, but a cut above in quality and with a quirky melody that best typified new wave at its' origins.

My sentimental favourite though, is I Hope I Never. A piano ballad that I eventually figured out the 15 or so guitar chords necessary to play it proper. Here the trademark melancholy Finn sound is at its' most examplary. If you liked David Gilmour's So Far Away on his debut, you will likely adore this song also as the melodies carry the same sentiment.

The rest, and I don't mean to demean them, are standard fare for 80s new wave. The instrumentation, especially the keyboard parts will be familiar to those who grew on the radio of the time. Fun stuff, but a close listen to the words reveals a depth of talent not found among too many of their musical compadres of the day.

If I may quote Nick Lowe, you could call this an 80s "Pure Pop for Now People" album. Pop, yes. Throwaway, no. If you like melancholy & melody, this album should not disappoint, as any albums from the Finn bros.

P.S. the rating I give is based on its' progness, not its' place in my heart. For me, it's a 5 star, but I'm a fan.

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars In the mid-70's, Split Enz were a fully-blown Sympho-Prog band, turning in some fine, eccentric recordings. By 1979, finely crafted pop songs were the order of the day, but not without personality and wit. 'True Colours' is an album I've enjoyed since its release - an 8 year old flogging the official cassette to death in the folk's tape-player, (incidentally, this tape still exists, the tape player doesn't) - now I treasure my laser-etched LP, which I do enjoy from time to time.

The now famous Finn brothers, Tim and Neil, were gifted song-smiths, and the band themselves excellent musicians ; Eddie Rayner (keyboards) and Nigel Griggs (bass) in particular, TC proved to be an intelligent album full of vibrant, colourful music and great singing. For me, I don't hear a split-second of filler, just pure enjoyment, start to finish. Each song features great melodies, lively sounds and even the occasional 'lush' atmosphere can be heard. Older brother Tim was the more reflective one, his specialty were the ballads, whilst Neil concentrated on punchy little songs full of catchy hooks, Rayner contributed the odd instrumental track, here he has 'Double Happy' which is a dynamic synth-pop affair with a top bass riff. 'The Choral Sea' is a band-composed instrumental, which starts out as a disco number but morphs into a fantastic melody and great playing from all. Rayner's synths sound supersonic !! My personal favourite tracks are 'I Hope I Never', 'Poor Boy' and 'How Can I Resist Her' but the album is strong overall. It's not really prog-rock per se, but it's pretty good - 3 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars ''Split Enz'' was a creative rock band from New Zealand who released several interesting albums in the mid late seventies.

But "True Colors" doesn't belong to them. Little creativity. Little craziness. Very few good songs. In a word: not a good album. The band developed a very good new wave sound in its previous album "Frenzy" but this one is mostly pop oriented.

Some reminiscence of the new wave days (even punkish) is to be heard with "Shark Attack". I can live pretty well with this song, but I doubt that it will fill lots of proghead hearts with joy.

Several songs sounds really flat ("What's The Matter With You") but at times a nice surprise appears like the melodic ballad "I Hope I Never". Simple, full of passion. Great vocals and charming background piano are such a good combination.

A song like "Nobody Takes Me Seriously" is totally in line with the band's best work. Dynamic and catchy, it reminds the sound from "Frenzy". It shows that the band can still produce excellent songs, full of rhythm and originality. But unfortunately, there aren't many like this on "True Colors".

Decent pop music, slightly electro oriented ("Poor Boy") is definitely worth a listen but won't bring you to heaven. Still, the funny side of their music is present on this album: "How Can I Resist Her" is just . irresistible. "Devo" comes immediately to my mind when I listen to this song which is my favourite from these true colors.

The entry of "Split Enz" in the eighties corresponds to their weakest album so far. Two stars since it is only average. If you really want to experiment the best of the band, I can only recommend their excellent debut "Mental Notes".

Review by russellk
4 stars One of the very best pop albums ever issued, and a classic example of punk-influenced New Wave, this 1980 album is a very long way removed from prog rock. So, mark this well: if you are one of those whose prog sensibilities are offended by pure pop, steer well clear of this.

'True Colours' broke SPLIT ENZ into the mainstream. A series of stunning songs will do that. There's not a moment of weakness, not a second of filler: up-tempo rockers, soft ballads, they're all compelling. Gone are the prog rock days of the mid-70s. SPLIT ENZ have finally found a worthy vehicle for their strangely eccentric, self-conscious zaniness, and for them new-wave pop proved the ideal format. This was the one true whole-hearted performance of their career, and is far and away the most successful pop album ever issued by a New Zealand band.

Off we go, then. 'Shark Attack' starts things off with a madcap keyboard swirl and manic vocals, reminiscent of the bizarre vaudeville beginnings of the band. It's followed by their biggest hit single, 'I Got You'. With exuberant Farfisa organ and a chorus straight out of the LENNON-MCCARTNEY manual of superb pop songs, this song is exactly what pop is all about, and signals the maturation of NEIL FINN, the most gifted songwriter in a talented lot. We're even treated to a sweet little keyboard solo of sorts. 'What's the Matter with You' keeps up the assault, another worthy pop number. 'Double Happy' is a splendid instrumental, as near as they get to prog, courtesy of the talented keyboardist EDDIE RAYNOR. 'I Wouldn't Dream of It' is a little repetitive, but the following track ('I Hope I Never') is glorious, filled with self-deprecatory pathos and sporting an excellent, unusual and dramatic arrangement, evidence of the ENZ's broadening ambitions. I cannot imagine it not appealing to a neutral listener. 'Nobody Takes Me Seriously' is an archetypal new wave song with a simple beat and a great chorus. The wistful and occasionally off-kilter soloing stamps the ENZ brand on the track, and it does build to a nice finish. 'Missing Person' treads much the same ground as the preceding track, though with slightly more sophistication. 'Poor Boy' is my favourite SPLIT ENZ song of all, a whimsical exploration of a long-distance radio-wave relationship between human and alien - so typically ENZ. TIM FINN's vocal performance here makes the song, as does the great keyboard line in the chorus - and the track builds to a dramatic conclusion. A great way to spend three minutes. 'How Can I Resist Her' is throwaway pop. The album closes on a high with the instrumental 'The Choral Sea', reminiscent of early OMD - but haters of the 80s sound need not bother with it.

Clearly, this is NOT a five-star prog album. In terms of progginess, this gets one star. But it is, in my opinion, an almost perfect pop album, and represents the very best of new wave music. Irresistible - if you like that sort of thing.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
3 stars True Colours was landmark album for Split Enz that introduced the 80s and the Enz effectively shed their lurid, weird, zany colourful persona to embrace a more pop-oriented sound. The new wave sound that relied heavily on synthesiser, echoing percussion and crystalline vocals. It's all here and tracks from the album permeated the airwaves in Australia and New Zealand. I cannot tell you how many times the local radio has played 'I Got You' which stayed at number one for ages. It wasn't just a one hit wonder either with tracks that soared up the charts such as the beautiful heartfelt 'I Hope I Never' or my personal favourite 'Poor Boy '. It was a giant album in its day and remains one worthy of a listen from end to end. It begins with the brilliant craziness of 'Shark Attack'. Listen to those bizarre, brash lyrics:

Well she chewed me up and she spat me out I didn't want to meet a maneater, Shark attack! Please don't mess around with me, I'm a shark fatality, in the sea, I'm the one with the bleeding heart, I thought you were a real lifesaver, And life for once would do me a favour, But babys just a butcher, and her teeth are razor sharp, Shark attack!

Its all pure fun and nonsense, sounding in a thematic sense to Van der Graaf Generator's 'Killer', and harking back to the nonsensical early Enz years but with so much more polished production value and style.

'Poor Boy' has always been my favourite. I love the way Tim Finn's vocals echo off from some distant beyond and the incandescant effects of the keyboards that rise and fall give a sense of timelessness and alienness. The lyrics supplement the high strangeness of the musical structure brilliantly and are very memorable:

My love is alien, I picked her up by chance, She speaks to me in ultra-high frequency, The radio band of gold, Gonna listen til I grow old, Ooh what more can a poor boy do? The crackle of the radio, The message in the evening sky, You're looking at an interplanetary Romeo,

The interplanetary Romeo was Neil Finn. When Neil Finn jumped on board he effectively transformed the sound of Split Enz - the real drawcard of the band as it turns out over the next few years. Neil went solo and Crowded House became his band when Split Enz split up. Neil sings 'I Got You' with a vulnerability and a sincerity unheard on earlier albums. It resonated a chord in the Oz/NZ musical industry and became a swansong of the band, played at every concert and still plays on the airwaves. The film clip to accompany it showed Neil almost separate from the band singing to a picture frame containing the other band members. In a sense that is what happened. Neil became the spokesperson and main vocalist after this effort. He was the main stay of the band although I always loved Tim's renditions, Neil sang rings around him in every sense. It was still great to hear the diverseness of the band from these two diverse singers. That is what made them so great. Not everything works on this album but enough to keep you interested.

True Colours is one of the best Enz albums but is not actually progressive apart from some moments in the musical department, and some strange lyrics. Overall, it is worth a listen, and I recommend the vinyl laser etched albums that reflects rainbow colours around the room when you play it. I can only give this 3 stars as it is not really progressive but the music is so good it is impossible to dislike.

Review by obiter
2 stars Can't remember if I first heard a track from this on OGWT but whatever it was this was an eclectic pop album. With the successful single "I got you" mixed in there. Poor Boy is the stand out track. Memories of early teens are hard to banish.

For me as a progster Splti Enz oddly revolves around Noel Crombie rather than the Finns (a which we know reached its peak with Crowded House (Bring the weather with you etc).

There is still with a little Crombie oddness about the style and art of the band. But it remains a pop album (a little new wave~with a prescient modern romantic visual style). One that I really like because of growing up with it, but I can't see a place for it in a prog collection.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Pure Pop Perfection... For Half of the Album, At Least. Somewhat detailed review of "True Colours" Keep in mind, all what follows below is purely my own opinion. You may agree or disagree with my views. More pure pop perfection' for half of the album at least. Some songs sound like generic p ... (read more)

Report this review (#1906546) | Posted by blockmaster1 | Monday, March 19, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars (3.5 stars) Split Enz's international breakthrough album, True Colours, stands as one of the highlights of the new wave era, with the band virtually shedding its more eccentric musical ambitions in favour of a vivid and polished, slightly left-of-centre, pop sound that makes heavy use of synthesizer ... (read more)

Report this review (#699064) | Posted by filster8 | Thursday, March 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This maybe pop but it is good pop, and stills retains the spirit of Split Enz, this is maintainde by Eddie Raynor's keyboards, there are some proggy tracks (penned by Eddie Raynor) such as the Coral Sea, Double Happy. Poor Boy has a certain depth to it with a slight classical sound to it. I don' ... (read more)

Report this review (#122462) | Posted by Cheesecakemouse | Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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