Thursday, April 30, 2015

bus vibes #8 - split enz

hello there

my my, April has been something of a bumper month for posts, as it not? it would seem, look you see, that it averages out at more than one a day. i can only hope that at least one or two, if only by accident, have been worth the time it took to read them, then.

bus vibes, then. today? it was The Stranglers. i think i actually intended to listen to them yesterday, got terribly confused and then went with Split Enz. so today's post is all about the Australian-New Zealand new wave, new romantic super pop group combo that gets nowhere near enough love worldwide as you would think they should.

for many years i was able to keep my complete works of Split Enz on my ipod. in recent times, however, with Apple's desire to wipe my ipod from time to time when i undertake the challenge of adding new music, i have resigned myself to the fact that maybe Apple are even bigger twats than i think they are, which is a lot, and they don't like Split Enz. perhaps including all of their music is just a bit too intimidating for them. i limit, then, their presence on my ipod, to see if that appeases the great mysteries of why Apple won't let you just do what you want with a product you buy off of them.

Split Enz have, over the years, been subject to some of the most bizarre and flabbergasting dismissive comments i have heard, to be honest. more than once i have seen it said that "all" Tim Finn, and to an extent his brother Neil (more on him later) did was "take Beatles records, 70s records - in particularly Abba - get influenced by them, write songs and melodies inspired by the parts they liked and produced them to the same high standards (mostly) of the bands mentioned there". wow, so that's a bad thing is it? well, please do excuse me. the bands they were influenced by is written large in their songs, less spoken of perhaps is their influence on others. Split Enz, alas, may not have sold all that well outside of Australia, but certain people in the UK - Depeche Mode, Trevor Horn, Duran Duran, Culture Club, etc, etc, i be looking at you - certainly heard them and liked what they heard. not liked and stole, more sort of liked and wished to emulate. and why not.

on to the music, then, and Frenzy. which, i see, someone is selling on amazon for a mere £334.69. yeah, up to you, but maybe do a download. it's good, but it's not that good.

not that good as in it didn't even make the top ten in the band's native lands of Australia and New Zealand. so, really, do not spend that much on it.

the two outstanding tracks here are I See Red, a frenetic (as the album title would suggest, i guess) quality single which seems to be, in retrospect, the melting point at which the energy of punk melted into the sophistication of new wave, and She's Got Body, She's Got Soul. the latter one is better known, to the more cultured and insightful of you, as Body & Soul, for that is how the band reworked the song and handed it over to Jo Kennedy to perform - brilliantly and astonishingly - on the soundtrack of the mega ace boss brilliant film Star Struck. if you can find it, see it, and if you are reading Mushroom Records, please release it on CD, or at least one of those download things - my tape and vinyl of it are all but knacked, thank you.

a snippet of that last song, in really low quality? but of course.

yeah, i probably could have played that a bit louder when i recorded it. hey ho, off you go if not to pay some significant coins of money for the CD, then in the direction of that you tube thing or something.

hopefully what comes through when you hear it properly is the magnetism and magic of Tim Finn the frontman. a challenging, daring and provocative singer, he really was something else, and hope that he is out there performing still. 

True Colours is an album that you can get at a very sensible price on CD these days, at the least. nice that this one is more accessible.

this was the follow up to Frenzy, and did manage to make some sort of impact on the charts in the US and the UK. probably in other European countries too (not that the US is), but i can't be bothered to check on that, sorry.

highlights? the whole album, from start to finish. oh, go on then. Shark Attack is a great album opener in general and specifically a great song. What's The Matter With You, I Hope I Never and, in particular, Missing Person are remarkable all around songs, with both featuring impressive lyrics back with some great pop music. the standout moment, though, and for me the crowning glory moment of the band that is Split Enz, is I Got You. it's a song that stands as three minutes of pop perfection. it was a minor hit around the world, but was heard by all the right people - over the years big American acts such as Pearl Jam and Marilyn Manson have done decent takes on it.

please seek a decent copy of it, but for now here is a quick snippet.

I Got You was a Neil Finn composition. at the end, or if you like enz, of the era of Split Enz, Neil of course went on to form Crowded House. that band got all of the worldwide fame, accolades and money that somehow evaded the Enz. interestingly, though Crowded House's biggest success was the Woodface era, when one Tim Finn briefly joined the band.

a number of songs could be considered the finest moment of Split Enz. Six Months In A Leaky Boat would be a close call from me, as would History Never Repeats and Dirty Creature. for me, though, I Got You is the perfect pop moment that many bands spend their entire careers trying to be as good as. the more that achieve that, the better for all music lovers.

any chance of a Split Enz revival? unlikely. if so much as one person reads all this, however, goes off and tries them and discovers that yeah, this band was damned good, then i have done something towards fixing the great wrong that is the fact this band has been overlooked and not considered for so long.

if my bus vibes adventures continue - i appreciate these posts are for some reason popular, but i am starting to miss my reading - then i may well return to Australia for some Mental As Anything soon. for now, though, go check out Split Enz, and brace yourselves for The Stranglers tomorrow, or whenever i do a bus vibes update next.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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