Saturday, November 22, 2014

Split Enz - See Ya 'Round

Today (November 22nd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the ninth and final album from New Zealand’s Split Enz. By this point, Tim Finn had already left the band so all song writing duties fell to brother Neil. Since he was only come up with six tracks (enough for an EP), the rest of the band contributed pieces to fill out the rest.

The album charted at number 29 in Australia and number 5 in New Zealand.

Side one begins with “Breakin’ My Back”, a mid-tempo tune about a guy who begs for his girl to give him a little support and encouragement. I like the way the synths and percussion play off one another here.

“I Walk Away”, the first single, went to number 45 in Australia and number 13 in New Zealand. Finn would later re-record this one for the first Crowded House album that came out in 1986. The lyrics tell of a guy who has had enough and turns his back on the relationship he was in. The song has a great pop sound to it, and I like the dual-drum solo on the bridge.

“Doctor Love” appeared on the twelve-inch vinyl version of the first single. It has a steady, mid-tempo dance beat to it and, about halfway through shifts rhythms for a brief interlude.

“One Mouth Is Fed” was released as the second single. It opens with an exotic sound to it, supplemented by big drums.

“Years Go By” summons up feelings of angst and remorse as a man reflects upon the failings of a relationship. It builds to a big dramatic crescendo.

“Voices” is a bitter sweet ballad that reflects upon the past. It is rather fitting for a band’s final album, complete is a sorrowful saxophone solo.

Side two starts with the instrumental “The Lost Cat”, which was written by keyboardist Eddie Rayner. It has a dark, foreboding mood to it. It almost could have been lifted from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats which made its debut in London in 1981.

Bassist Nigel Griggs’ writing contribution on the record comes with “Adz”, a stream-of-conscious piece about the bombardment of advertising on television. It is funny that it ends with the line “this isn’t even going to go in the album at all, is it?”

The B-side to the second single was “This is Massive”, a song written by drummer Paul Hester. I like the beat on this one; it has an urgency to it that grabs at the listener’s attention.

“Kia Kaha (Ever Be Strong)” is up next. The lightness of the melody counters the darkness of the lyrical content.

“Ninnie Knees Up” was written by percussionist Noel Crombie; he also took up the vocal reigns for it. The piece is very abstract and an odd way to close off the album. I might have switched around some of the tracks a bit, just for an overall aesthetic feel.

I had to hunt for See Ya ‘Round over on YouTube to give it a listen. Apparently the band’s label did not find it worth making available on the usual streaming services. Overall, I liked what I heard here and, I am sure, it would grow on me more with subsequent listens.

For more from Split Enz, click here.

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