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SPLIT ENZ

Crossover Prog • New Zealand


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Split Enz biography
Perhaps better known to most as a successful New Zealand, (and NZ's most successful band and hugely popular in NZ and Australia) new wave act from the early 1980s. SPLIT ENZ did in fact start life as a prog band formed in 1972 originally spelt SPLIT ENDS (the spelling changed to Enz when the band left New Zealand), by friends at Auckland University Phil Judd (Guitar, vocals) and Brian (Tim) Finn (Vocals, piano, guitar), who had an inspired period of song writing together. Their early sound was a mixture of vaudeville and influences of the Beatles, Genesis, Yes, Roxy Music, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant. Tim's singing style was influenced a little by Brian Ferry while Phil Judd by Roger Chapman of Family.

The line-up of the band was pretty fluid throughout the bands career sacking and employing many people, but two members that would play a key roll in Split Enz, Keyboard whizz Anthony (Eddie) Raynor who would flesh out the bands sound and percussionist/costume designer/stage designer Noel (Geoffrey) Crombie, would add wacky percussion and create the costumes and stage shows that made the band an incredibly unique theatrical juggernaut. >
SPLIT ENZ eventually caught the eye of Roxy Music member Phil Manzanera, the band moved to the UK in 1976 and Manzanera their second album, Second Thoughts.
The UK proved to be a difficult time for the band, Punk music became popular which made it a hostile environment for ENZ to be in, they did not have an agent to book them concerts and promote them, therefore their album did not sell well. After a disastrous US tour, and increasingly erratic behaviour on stage Phil Judd, the bands main songwriter left the group.

Tim's younger brother Neil (guitar, vocals), joined the band in 1977 to replace Phil, the band had a fresh start in inspiration, but due to not having a big enough impact in the UK Chrysalis dropped them. The band became more accessible form 1978 onwards and by 1980 were a successful new wave band reclaiming UK as well as Europe, and topping the Canadian and Australian charts thanks to Neil's ability to write catchy pop songs while Tim's more reflective melancholy pieces. Although the band was now more new wave in style, until 1983 they had still retained some of their zany spirit partially due to Eddie's keyboards. Popularity waned for the band in 1983 partially due to Tim pursuing his solo career. By 1984, Tim had left the band to pursue his own solo career, the band cut one more album; ...
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SPLIT ENZ discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SPLIT ENZ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.11 | 58 ratings
Mental Notes
1975
2.87 | 28 ratings
Second Thoughts (AKA Mental Notes)
1976
3.42 | 27 ratings
Dizrythmia
1977
2.80 | 23 ratings
Frenzy
1979
2.99 | 37 ratings
True Colours
1980
3.15 | 19 ratings
Corroboree/ Waiata
1981
3.73 | 26 ratings
Time and Tide
1982
1.88 | 18 ratings
Conflicting Emotions
1983
1.40 | 16 ratings
See Ya 'Round
1984
3.50 | 8 ratings
Rootin' Tootin' Luton Sessions
2007

SPLIT ENZ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.57 | 5 ratings
The Living Enz
1985
4.05 | 3 ratings
ExtravagENZa
2005
2.67 | 3 ratings
Live in America
2007

SPLIT ENZ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.35 | 6 ratings
Split Enz
2006

SPLIT ENZ Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.43 | 8 ratings
The Beginnings of the Enz
1979
2.57 | 4 ratings
History Never Repeats: The Best of Split Enz (International version)
1987
2.74 | 3 ratings
History Never Repeats: The Best of Split Enz (Australian version)
1987
3.26 | 8 ratings
The Best of Split Enz
1994
4.03 | 3 ratings
Spellbound
1997

SPLIT ENZ Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SPLIT ENZ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dizrythmia by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.42 | 27 ratings

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Dizrythmia
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

4 stars Two albums. Two misfires. Third time lucky. This time Split Enz get the production right in the studio, songs that are neither underproduced or overproduced and everybody plays well. Maybe it's because younger brother Neil Finn has joined the band and he has just the right sensibilities on guitar that suits the feel of the band. He's not as good a mandolin player as Phil Judd, but he has it all over him as a guitarist and he's not the aggressive lead guitarist that Wally Wilkinson is. A very good bass player in Nigel Griggs has replaced another very good bass player in Michael Chunn, while Malcolm Green is the superior drummer to Emlyn Crowther, he replaces. Noel Crombie contributes on percussion where needed.

The down side is the songs aren't as proggy as before. Tim Finn has a hand in writing all the songs except for Sugar And Spice. His influences are more sixties English Pop but he has Eddie Raynor to add a proggy flavor to the songs. Bold As Brass, with a writing credit to Robert Gillies, is a great rocker which opens the album. My Mistake is a lyrically clever song from Tim Finn. Parrot Fashion Love has some great boogie woogie playing on piano from Eddie Raynor and some of the best horns from Robert Gillies on a Split Enz song. Sugar And Spice is the odd song here, written by Phil Judd, but it rocks with some clever syncopated guitar runs and piano. Without A Doubt begins with an arpeggio sequence before it breaks into acoustic guitar and progresses into the main chorus of singing, mandolins, electric guitar and piano.

Crosswords is another clever Tim Finn song with some good harmonica and sax playing from Gillies. The jazzy Charlie mainly on the piano adds a light touch to the album, again with very clever lyrics from Tim Finn. Nice To Know begins ordinarily on drums then develops some interesting ethereal effects on keyboards from Eddie Raynor with a contribution on electric guitar from Neil Finn as well as Sax from Robert Gillies. Jamboree is a mini epic that reminds me of the misunderstood Syd Barrett song, Jugband Blues. It's not a song about madness in as much as the song IS madness. It's like a piece of creative art which is stretched like an elastic band until it snaps. If there is one definitive song that describes Split Enz, it is Jamboree.

Dizrythmia is one of the great underappreciated Spilt Enz albums. It gets more spins from me than any other Split Enz album.

 Mental Notes by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 58 ratings

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Mental Notes
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

4 stars The failure of Mental Notes has more to do with youthful enthusiasm combined with a first up experience in the recording studio and a recording engineer having no idea what to do with the music, than it has to do with any of the material on the album. Time For A Change, Spellbound and Titus are brilliant songs which were staple diet at their live shows and deserved better execution on this album.

To get an idea what this band was like you needed to attend one of their live shows. Booed off the stage in Sydney they gravitated to Melbourne where the live scene was more active and audiences were more tuned into progressive bands like Pink Floyd. The progressive scene was used to multiple styles within the one song. However Split Enz took this to a new level. You could get everything in a Split Enz song: classical music influences, folk, jazz, rock, pop, swing, boogie woogie and even spoons, all within one song. The nominal leader Tim Finn was mainly influenced by the Sixties English pop scene of The Kinks and The Small Faces. The keyboard player, Eddie Raynor was heavily influenced by the keyboard style of Genesis and Yes. Phillip Judd was interested in multilayered instrumental patterns while Noel Crombie, an art student who studied costume, was into Music Hall and Vaudeville. Together they made zany music which perplexed audiences unable to work them out. In vibrant London in the late 60's and early 70's they would have fitted perfectly into the music scene there. However, in the more conservative New Zealand and Australia, they were ahead of their times musically and unfortunately, by the time they landed in London in the mid-seventies, artists like Roxy Music and David Bowie, who they were being compared with, were moving in a different direction and so Split Enz were starved of opportunities. Ironically, fans of Split Enz from their early progressive phase deserted them after Neil Finn replaced Phil Judd on guitar and Split Enz became a more conventional pop band

The opening chords of the clavinet/electric piano lends an atmospheric start to Walking Down The Road, weaving it's way through some abrupt changes to the main electric guitar theme and energetic singing from Tim Finn. The mandolin begins the middle section of the song through some chorus singing, then a bridge of gentle piano playing before it abruptly changes again to the electric guitar finish. Under The Wheel has some interesting acoustic guitar and mellotron but the song unwinds with the excesses of Finn's voice and Phil Judd doing a soliloquy near the end. Pity as the song built up a beautiful atmosphere with the mellotron and melodious finish on synthesizer and electric guitar. Amy (Darling) is a charming lullaby featuring guitars and piano.

Stranger Than Fiction is a great song which has a haunting synthesizer melody at the start which changes to bass and electric guitar before Tim starts singing the first verse. The voices go all over the place with several time changes as the mood goes deeper with synthesized voices and whistles as Tim strings out his voice for extra effect. The song morphs into Time For A Change which is a sentimental piano piece with a nice mellotron and electric guitar finish. Maybe is one the best early Split Enz songs with strong lyrics and catchy piano rhythm.

Titus is a beautiful Phil Judd composition which he opens with mandolin and sings the first verse. Tim Finn comes in with the higher voice to sing the main theme and song finishes with synthesizer and guitars. Spellbound ups the tempo with acoustic guitar, piano and synthesizer in another haunting song that changes time through the electric guitar part before it closes out on mellotron and synthesizer.

Mental Notes, I call a grand failure. It should have been a five-star masterpiece. It has haunting melodies, strong lyrical ideas which are heavily Genesis influenced, but with enough originality to distinguish Spilt Enz as one of best emerging progressive rock band of the mid-seventies. The singing and it's production lets it down. Phil Judd doesn't have a strong voice and Tim Finn does too much with his voice which gives some of the songs a heavy, laden feel. They deserve better.

When Split Enz traveled to England they decided to re-record four of the tracks off Mental Notes. By that time their lead guitarist, Wally Wilkinson, had left the band so they had his replacement, Robert Gillies, cover the guitar parts with his Saxophone. That album was released as Second Thoughts, here in Australia, but in The UK, they released it as Mental Notes. They were fortunate to get Phil Manzanera to produce the album. However, the result is disappointing, proving that even with the best intentions you can't remake music once you put it out into the public space. Creative artists can only move forwards, not backward.

As a bonus on the 2006 remastered version of the Mental Notes album, there are two early live songs recorded from a Melbourne concert the band performed just before they entered the recording studio to record their first album. I was there at that concert. The first is 129 later released at Matinee Idyll for the Second Thoughts album. The second is Lovey Dovey, featuring some improvised bass work and Eddie Rayner fancy jazz playing on the piano. I wish there had been more recordings taken from this concert. They reveal just how innovative and advanced Split Enz were for their times

 Time and Tide by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.73 | 26 ratings

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Time and Tide
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

4 stars H from Marillion expresses it when he says Neil Finn (Splitz Enz and Crowded House) wrote some corkers, a couple of them featuring on this album. Big brother Tim is no slouch either with the pen, contributing one of his best known songs, Six Months In A Leaky Boat, which was famously banned by the BBC during the Falklands war.

This is the seventh album from Split Enz. They're still predominantly an art band performing most of their songs in full costume, but much of their progressive elements have disappeared since the departure of Phil Judd. Song writing craft can be a trade off between the daring and often incoherent originality of mixing genres to baffle audiences, or the more disciplined approach of strict structuring to a simpler aesthetic. Personally I much prefer the former but for bands it doesn't pay the bills, so Split Enz follows the trajectory of so many other progressive rock bands in the 1970's in moving to the pop sphere where they had most of their success in the early 80's. Basically this is a pop album with enough progressive elements to make it interesting.

The album has a nautical theme. The opener Dirty Creature has a jazzy feel to it with Eddie Raynor on keyboards using synthesizers to emulate the actions of ocean waves. On the next track bassist Nigel Griggs contributes to a Neil Finn number, Giant Heartbeat, which has a great electric guitar riff going through it but doesn't really go anywhere. Hello Sandy Allen is another immature Neil Finn track which features a cacophony of instruments and gives just a hint of what was to come when Neil Finn formed his own band, Crowded House. Never Ceases To Amaze Me is typical Tim Finn music hall with grand chorus and effects. Tim Finn's Small World reduces the pace to a gentle pace before we speed up again with a great Neil Finn track, Take A Walk. This is full blossoming of Neil Finn's talent with a great piano riff and guitars.

Pioneer is the Eddie Raynor lead in to Six Months In A Leaky Boat, the two always performed together in live concert. The keys represent the prelude of the storm brewing before the weather strikes the boat. Six Months has a Polynesian feel to the song but the hook that gets you in is just after the piano accordion in the middle section when it builds into the chorus.

Haul Away and Log Cabin Fever are really one song with brothers exchanging biographical tales. The Tim Finn is autobiographical describing his childhood in New Zealand to travels overseas, all being played to a military drum roll and ship's whistle. Transitioning to acoustic guitar, Neil Finn's is a tale of mad old Jim going crazy in his cabin waiting to join the human race again. Could this be Neil Finn stuck in New Zealand waiting for his call from brother Tim to join the band in England?

Time And Tide represents Split Enz at the peak of their popularity. Soon after Tim Finn left to go solo while Neil Finn continued carrying the band for another couple of albums before winding the band up.

 Mental Notes by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 58 ratings

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Mental Notes
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A surprisingly collection of highly original and eclectic songs reminding me of so many bands: from early Rush, early Supertramp, David Bowie, Queen, Rod Stewart, Peter Hammill, Family, The Woods Band, Gentle Giant, Gryphon, The Strawbs, Spirogyra, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, The Electric Prunes, The Chocolate Watch Band, The Beau Brummels, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, 10CC/Godley & Creme, Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, and even some early AC/DC, with many truly unique and innovative ideas thrown in that are all their own. The album may not be engineered and mixed very well (thus the comments by other reviewers referring to the "demo" quality of this album when compared to the versions that were re-recorded a year later with Phil Manzanera). I do not, however, comprehend the Genesis comparisons. These are not the mythological musings of young aristocrats, these are the lyrics and theatrics of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, of some Berlin cabaret, of Italian band Jumbo, of Lennon and McCartney.

As other reviewers have said, there really isn't a weak spot on the album while the two long songs, "Under the Wheel" and "Time for Change" really standout. I'm glad this is under the Crossover sub-genre, though Prog-Related would be just as understandable.

Five stars for a minor masterpiece of fresh, energetic music with many, many unique tricks and twists and an astonishing knack for creating seemingly unnatural stylistic or sonic combinations that work! If only the sound were better! I really, really like this album! Definitely a keeper! This is the kind of creative genius that we should be extolling in Prog World!

 True Colours by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.99 | 37 ratings

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True Colours
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by blockmaster1

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 pop that fails to get your attention and engage your senses.

Star Tracks: Shark Attack, What's the Matter With You, The Choral Sea

Track by Track Review

1: I got you:

It's a catchy track, and the production on it is very tight. For example, the verses have a haunting synth that blends in well with the simple guitar riffs and Neil's short but sweet lines of lyrics. 'I got you' and that's all i want'. This track is probably everyone's introduction into the band, and as mentioned above, the production of course led to this song being the most popular Split Enz song. The chorus is so catchy too. 'I don't know why sometimes I get frightened' is a perfect hook. In this album, whenever there are synth solos, Split Enz does them well. And I can't stop loving the short solo in the midsection of this song. It's like an upbeat happy break in between the haunting melodies offered in this track. The track is a bit too simple in my tastes, compared to Enz's future brilliant tunes.

2: Shark Attack

The synths are strong with this one. I love all the synth solos throughout the song, and also when the Finn brothers come in hard with 'SHAAARK ATTACK'! With the craziness and zany nature of this song, you really feel like you are trying to outrun a shark in the sea. The quirky and ever changing synths to me represent the crashing waves of the sea, as you are trying to swim through the waves to escape the mad shark!! 'SHAAARK ATTACK!'.

3: What's the Matter With you

I love that this song comes next. You start off with the crazy and all over the place 'Shark 'Attack, then this song comes in with more serious and straightforward pop. However, this song is a real hard hitter. The song is pretty simple in terms of pop standards, but the simplicity of the music combined with Neils provoking and hard hitting lyrics overtop makes this track shine. Like you are really wondering 'What's the matter with you'?????? I don't know why, but the synth in the background of the verses always gets me, and Neil delivers some great vocal tone changes in his verses. Great song. Really gives pop a good name.

4: Double Happy

So... this instrumental has some nice melodies. The chorus part is so quirky and catches my attention. Otherwise this song to me is just an average instrumental song. However it really ties in with the previous songs. The synths are pop perfection as always' however we need Neil or Tim's vocals overtop!

5: I Wouldn't Dream Of It

This song is a bit quieter and a bit haunting, like 'I Got You'. However it doesn't sound nearly as catchy to me as our beloved Split Enz hit does. I must say, this song has a real flow to it, with the simple melodies and synths and the flowing lyrics of 'I wouldn't dream of it, I wouldn't dream of it, I wouldn't dream of it'. This is where I personally feel the album starts to go on a downward spiral, saved only by a couple of tracks to come.

6: I Hope I Never

A nice ballad. Not sounding that good for my tastes though. You see, I am used to quirky and upbeat progressive rock songs, so I only truly like soft ballads if they make you feel extremely emotional, like bawl your eyes out. Otherwise, I would rather hear some quirky pop action again. Still, Tim's vocals shine on this track. A nice break to the quirky pop, I guess.

7: Nobody Takes me Seriously

Layer upon layer of interesting and haunting synths, this track brings me back in Split Enz's pop. I am immediately taken upon an interesting rollercoaster ride of synths, all leading to the 'Nobody take me seriously anyway chorus' which matches the tone of the synths. You can't take this song seriously, anyway. And that's what I like about this song.

8: Missing Person

I like this track as it is a great track to listen to in the background as you are doing things. A frantic song with frantic synths, It is a good song. Really makes me feel exactly like Tim is feeling when he sings frantically, 'I don't wanna be' another missing person', as I am doing frantic tasks(was playing an intense racing game when listening through this song)

9: Poor Boy

It's just generic pop, really. It doesn't have any edge to it, like 'Nobody Takes Me Seriously', with its haunting synths and engaging atmosphere. What more can a poor boy do if he doesn't hear a great split enz pop song?

10: How Can I Resist Her?

Not really any hooks in this song. It's a great rocker though, I must say, with some twists and turns. Not much to say about this song.

11: The Choral Sea

This song is a perfect closer to the album, and especially a good closer to all my favorite tracks on this album. I like it because it is a nice progressive song, with synths that build up overtime. I love the key change towards the end of the song, signifying the song is reaching its climax.

If you want some simple and nice pop, I recommend this album. There is too much filler in this album for my tastes though. Split Enz didn't truly dare to think outside of the box on their tracks until Time and Time in my opinion(to be reviewed later). Within 'True Colours' The synths still sound amazing, especially on my favorite tracks. A lot of the lyrics are relatable too, at least to me :). A good album, but not great, or amazing, like Split Enz's later releases

Track by Track Rating:

1: I Got You, 7.8/10 2: Shark Attack, 8.5/10 3: What's the Matter with You?, 8.75/10 4: Double Happy, 7.5/10 5: I Wouldn't Dream of It, 7/10 6: I Hope I Never, 7/10 7: Nobody Takes me Seriously, 7.8/10 8: Missing Person, 7.5/10 9: Poor Boy, 6.8/10 10: How Can I resist Her?, 7/10 11: The Choral Sea, 8.3/10

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

 The Beginnings of the Enz by SPLIT ENZ album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1979
3.43 | 8 ratings

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The Beginnings of the Enz
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars A collection of early singles, mostly predating the recording of Mental Notes, I bought this expecting an insight into their early development as a band that was initially considered progressive. Given that it consists entirely of singles, it is somewhat limited and not really representative of their most progressive side, since the single format demands shorter songs designed to catch the ears of radio programmers. It would be somewhat unfair to judge their progressive credentials based on this - after all, how many of the great prog titans would come out looking great if all we ever heard were their singles? eg Yes, ELP, Floyd etc

To start with, Split Enz favoured acoustic instruments, including flute and violin, and made music with a distinct folk edge. At it's best (such as on their first single and my personal favourite track, "For You"), it resembles prog folk groups such as Comus (without the bloodshed), Spirogyra, or the acoustic side of Jethro Tull. However, there was also a side to their early writing that leaned toward jug-band ragtime, as though they were attempting to be New Zealand's answer to the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band; and although the two sides coexist in the best tracks, the raggy side seems to dominate here. That songwriting approach continues into the later recordings, even as the sound of the band changes, becoming more electric and keyboard-led - in that timbral context, the songs take on the character of zany, arty pop. Which is exactly the direction Split Enz ulimately followed (though with gradually decreasing levels of zaniness and artiness). Aside from "For You", the proggiest track here is the re-recorded version of "Spellbound", with it's more symphonic keyboard textures - nevertheless, it's a much more smoothed out and radio-friendly version of that song, compared to the much more edgy version on Mental Notes.

 Mental Notes by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 58 ratings

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Mental Notes
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

4 stars After three years of singles only, Mental Notes allowed Split Enz more room to stretch out, and prog out! It veers very close to being symphonic prog in several places - "Under The Wheel" and "Stranger Than Fiction" particularly - and even in the poppier tracks there are still wigged out prog moments, like the keyboard interlude in "Amy" or the ending of "Song Long For Now". They certainly have great instrumental firepower, particularly in main keyboard player Eddie Rayner. However, there are few extended showcases for the instrumentalists - the focus remains on the vocals at nearly all times. That is potentially the album's weakness, because both singers at this point favoured an overly theatrical, highly mannered vocal approach that can be off-putting, especially from Phil Judd - it took me a few listens to get past that and begin to appreciate the compositions. It's probably the vocals rather than the prog elements that kept them from being an immediate commercial success, considering there are plenty of otherwise radio-friendly moments here - "Amy", "So Long For Now", "Time For A Change" (which resembles an early Elton John ballad at times), "Maybe", "Spellbound" (the version here, with Judd on vocals is far too edgy - the re-recorded version featured on The Beginning Of The Enz shows how much difference a smoother vocal approach could make to the accessibility of some of these compositions) - among the more overtly proggy tracks like "Walking Down A Road", "Under A Wheel", "Stranger Than Fiction", and "Titus". I have definitely found the album to be a grower - if you can learn to love the vocal approach, this album sits up amongst the best of Australian/NZ prog of the era.
 Mental Notes by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 58 ratings

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Mental Notes
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by A_Flower

4 stars Mental Notes is probably one of the most underrated records of all time. It is truly beutiful and underrated. Most people know the Split Enz from their pop music though the start of there discography is an amazing prog album fronted by Phil Judd and Tim Finn

By the start of the album, you can tell this is prog. This is "Walking Down a Road." A sound fades in that almost sounds it is underwater and climbs up to drums and bass with a beutiful meldody following brought by gutair and keyboards. The beginning of this song is amazing and is good and steady, however, around the two minute mark, it sort of looses it's tempo and the rest of the song seems a little scattered. The begaining is sort of reprised done well but the second part of this song kind of looses itself. Although it does get scattered it's still quite nice

The second song on the album starts with creepy keyboard and a dark sounding intro. This is "Under the Wheel." It is seven minutes being the longest track on Mental Notes. The lyrics of this song were written by Phil Judd, and they are dark about his struggle with drug abuse and other depression problems. The melodies are dark and creepy after the first stanza and at one point through, it get's bizarre for a quick 9 seconds, they get wild and crazy and sort of insane, and in a split second go back as before. After a few moments we get Phil Judd screaming "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!" After this comes poetry about death. The album ends with piano and some melodies and slowing ends with the sound of a river. This song isn't the scariest ever, but quite strange and definitely a masterpiece.

The third track cheers us up more as a love song. This is called "Amy (Darling)." It is a personal favorite of mine, with an amazing melody around the minute and a half mark. At one point the song stops and you just hear crickets. The song ends with some satisfying touches. One of my favorite parts of this album.

The albums next track is "So Long For Now." This is not as good as Amy or many other tracks on the album, though it has some nice moment. Though there isn't much memorable in it.

The next track is probably the best on the album. "Stranger Than Fiction." It starts with a melody on the synthesizers and goes right into a spacy feel after this. It's like this until the minute and a half mark. When the drums take you down to a frightening part with poetry that sounds like Edgar Alan Poe and laughing babies. In the background, you here strange mechanical sounds and piano. Then you hear, Tim Finn sing-speak "It's a story, of my LIFE!" And it all explodes into it's earlier spacy feel. After a few minutes of this part, you hear children playing and Finn singing with some scatting too. This continues by a part mostly heard by the gutair and drums and a strange whistling. This is followed by the songs spacy meldies and another lyric break with more scat. The song ends with it's starting synthosizer meldody. Astonishing.

Stranger Than Fiction leads into the next song, "Time For a Change." This is slow, brought by piano. It soon erupts into more mellotron. This song ends very well, though i often listen to it right after Stranger Than Fiction, for it doesn't sound as different.

After our 9 minutes of slow and beautiful bitter sweetness, we get a very happy fun tune. "Maybe." I really LOVE this one. It's an overall guilty pleasure tune with much fun and love seen in it. Sung by both Judd and Finn, with piano leading it all. It ends with a reprising scat melody.

The next track on the album is called "Titus". They use a ukulele through this. This song is okay, but not as good as Maybe. I do love the near end of it though near 2 and a half minutes though.

And here is the grand finally, "Spellbound." Started by what sounds line a gong. Then comes a small build up over an accusitc gutair including the same whistling from stranger than fiction and piano with a few small guitar licks, it then gives us a melody and Judd sings. The song is very positive in lyrics, "The way things are, we'll get there in the end, the way things are, we won't have to pretend, that were all spellbound."

Suddenly, Spellbound comes to an end and we get the 35 second title track, ending us at a weird place.

If you're looking for an underrated prog rock album, i highly recommend this debut that was introduced to me by my aunt. And that's why I give it four stars.

RANKING OF SONGS

1. Stranger Than Fiction 2. Under the Wheel 3. Amy (Darling) 4. Maybe 5. Walking Down a Road 6. Spellbound 7. So Long For Now 8. Titus 9. Time For a Change 10. Mental Notes

Favorite quote from album: "Death, glorious death, is just another bed to sleep. Yes, death, glorious death, is just another appointment to keep." -From "Under the Wheel"

 Frenzy by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.80 | 23 ratings

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Frenzy
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I've been on a sort of "catch up" binge as of late, trying to sample at least one album by some of the groups and artists considered to be progressive (in one way or another) that I didn't get around to hearing in my younger days. Gotta say it's been a hit-or-miss endeavor. In most cases they didn't sound exactly like I thought they would and it wasn't always a wholly satisfactory experience, either. The ones that I've found to be most worthwhile were the ones who hailed from off-the- beaten-path areas of the planet where they were less likely to be tempted to simply pantomime what was trendy in the American or European markets at the time. I think that's what made Bjork's eclectic brand of music intriguing to my ears and I'm pretty sure that's what made this record by the New Zealand homeboys in Split Enz a pleasant though somewhat inconsistent listen. Another factor that I'm very aware of is that often the musical entities labeled as crossover or prog-related are here because they went through a phase in their career that qualified them as such but it doesn't mean that they stayed in a progressive mode. So when I pick a disc at random (as is my wont to do) I realize that it may or may not be representative of their more adventurous work that landed them a spot in Progland. Can't help it, though, it's the way I do my investigative business. In the case of these southern hemisphere inhabitants, their 1979 release, "Frenzy," got the luck of the draw.

They opened with "I See Red," a raucous song with a decidedly New Wave flavor bolstered by the obligatory thin Farfisa organ that bops and dances through the track. While I was hoping for something a little more profound I have to admit that Eddie Rayner's too-brief piano solo was exhilarating. The tune wasn't a big turn off but it did suffer from being very dated. But, fortunately, they valued variety in their craftsmanship so the next cut, "Give it a Whirl," was a totally different marsupial. Its spacious depth of field captured my interest from the get go and the fact that it sounded like something The Move (one of my favorite proto-prog outfits) would've concocted was a huge plus. On the bouncy "Master Plan" I did note that their unorthodox approach to pop music was refreshing in that it wasn't overly formulaic aka Alan Parsons Project or downright silly like a lot of 10cc's stuff. They had a frolicsome aura all their own. The bass-heavy "Famous People" followed and all I can remark about it is that it was unremarkable. "Hermit McDermitt" was an odd duck of a number. Like a lot of groups that enjoyed some success in the 70s, these guys gave the impression here that they were unsure of what direction they should be going in as the decade was coming to a close. However, I admired their spunky attitude that allowed them to freely employ a Jews Harp and a rocking polka beat without shame. The title of the next tune, "Stuff and Nonsense," had me ready for some weird shenanigans but it's one of the finest cuts on the album. Delicate acoustic piano, Tim Finn's heartfelt vocals and a tactful string score accentuated by tympani and billowing cymbals established and maintained a graceful motif that's reminiscent of the early Bee Gees material. By saying that I don't mean to give the impression that it's a rip-off piece at all and besides, it's a compliment. The Brothers Gibb were quite proggy in the beginning. It's a beautiful love song that I found highly emotional and worthy of revisiting often.

"Marooned" took me somewhere else entirely. While the overall production of this album is noticeably unpolished I was repeatedly entertained by the originality contained in their compositions. They were just far enough away from the mainstream to be designated as cool. Speaking of unusual, "Frenzy" followed and it's a strange little ditty that came off like it was going to be an instrumental at first but then they ended up adding spoken word segments and a vocal chorus to it. "The Roughest Toughest Game in the World" possessed a light Supertramp (what an influence that band was!) vibe that granted it a gleaming ray of sheen but, alas, the number never located and locked into its mojo. "She Got Body She Got Soul" had a swinging shuffle groove that provided a welcome change of pace moment but its nostalgic 60s doo wop hue got old real quick. With "Betty" I found it difficult to find anything concrete to grab onto and savor. I respected their non-commercial mien but sometimes their arrangements wandered all over the place so much they never were able to settle into a solid groove. "Abu Dhabi" was a genuine treat. Drummer Malcom Green and percussionist Noel Cromble generated a rollicking rumble underneath this accordion- driven rocker that was irresistible. It was a fun ride through some imaginative streams of mayhem and I liked it mainly due to it being as incomparable to anything else as I've come across in many years. They ended with "Mind over Matter" in which Neil Finn's heavy guitar laid down a metallic foundation below Tim's convoluted melody line while full 3-part harmonies filled up the background.

The group was a major hit with their countrymen and in nearby Australia but their quirkiness never really caught on in the states and they remained basically a fringe act until they disbanded in the mid-80s. It's a pity I didn't discover them back in their heyday because I think I would've been strongly attracted to their offbeat style and their "anything goes" approach to recording. "Frenzy" isn't a great record but it does serve to remind us that rock & roll will forever be impossible to restrict to a particular way of thinking or design and this disc's uniqueness makes it stand out from the average bull in the herd. I'm sure that the members of Split Enz got a lot of advice from the record company suits about how they could become more accessible and, therefore, profitable if they'd be more conservative-minded but they chose to be none other than who and what they were. For that stubborn rebellious streak "Frenzy" earned a few more points. 3.1 stars.

 True Colours by SPLIT ENZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.99 | 37 ratings

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True Colours
Split Enz Crossover Prog

Review by obiter
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to Fassbinder for the last updates

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