SPLIT ENZ Live In America Store For Music SFMCD044 (2007)
This live Split Enz album finds the band mark 2, playing a Halloween show in Denver, circa 1980.
The Enz were presumably touring the States on the back of their commercial breakthrough album 'True Colours'. And while Neil Finn subsequently garnered internationally renowned with Crowded House, it was mostly Tim's songs that fuelled Split Enz and harked back to a time when art rock, and even proggy tendencies met new wave full on.
This partly explains the unexpected instrumental interludes in the band's music from Eddie Rayner's opening 'Double Happy' with its melodic riffs, to the curious up in the mix percussion of 'Double Happy' and 'I Wouldn't Dream of It' which features what sounds like a theremin, or possibly a synth, with percussion and cymbal slashes.
Split Enz were always a very visual band, with lots of humour as on the Tubes derivative 'Shark Attack', and the humorous piano led jig 'Hermin McDermit' from the earlier 'Frenzy' album. But in the Finn Brothers the band had songwriters whose time was yet to come. And the material here from the catchy hook of 'Hard Act To Follow', the Pop Rock sensibility of the US hit 'I Got You' , Neil's 'What's The Matter With You' and the white boy soul of 'I Hope I Never' already shows the excellence of their compositional bent.
The recording quality of this budget is variable, and sounds like it came from a desk tape, but the music is great, and being the first live retrospective release of the early 80's band, it merits a four star review.