Friday, November 30, 1984

Split Enz: A Retrospective, 1972-1984

Split Enz

A Retrospective, 1972-1984


Formed: 1972

Where: Auckland, New Zealand

Disbanded: 1984

Band formed by Tim Finn and Phil Judd. Tim’s younger brother Neil joined in 1977. After group disbanded, Neil Finn and Paul Hester went on to form Crowded House.


  • Geoff Chunn (Stillwater; Rosewood; Dragon; d – Split Enz: 73-75; v/g – Citizen Band: 77-81)
  • Mike Chunn (b – Stillwater; Moses; Space Waltz; Split Enz: 72-77; Citizen Band: 77-80; Party Boys)
  • Noel Crombie (d/percussion/art director – Split Enz: 74-84; Citizen Band: 79; Schnell Fenster: 86-92; Noel’s Cowards: 88)
  • Paul/Emlyn Crowther (d: 74-77; Orb; Suburban Reptiles)
  • Brian (Tim) Finn (v/k – Stillwater; Split Enz: 72-83; solo: 83-89;93,99; Crowded House: 91; ALT: 94; with Neil Finn: 95,04)
  • Neil Finn (g/v/k – Split Enz: 77-84; Crowded House: 86-96; with Tim Finn: 95,04; solo: 98-; Pajama Club: 11)
  • Rob Gillies (sax/trumpet: Stillwater; Split Enz: 73-78)
  • Miles Golding (violin: 72-73)
  • Malcolm Green (d: 76-81; Octopus; The Mal Green Sound; Invisible Men; The Famous Nobodies; Apart from That; PM; Engine Room; Kez; Guy Le Claire Band; The Divas; Don & Mal)
  • Nigel Griggs (b – Split Enz: 77-84; Steve Hillage’s Khan; Octopus; Schnell Fenster: 86-92; Noel’s Cowards: 88)
  • Paul Hester (d/v: Split Enz: 83-84; Crowded House: 86-94; Largest Living Things: 97-00)
  • Mike Howard (flute: 72-73)
  • Phil Judd (g/v – Split Ends: 72-74; Split Enz: 74-78; Suburban Reptiles: 78; The Swingers: 79-82; solo; Schnell Fenster: 86-92; Noel’s Cowards: 88)
  • Tony (Eddie) Rayner (k – Split Enz: 74-84; Schnell Fenster: 86; The Makers: 88-93)
  • Div Vercoe (d: 73)
  • Wally Wilkinson (g: 73-75; Orb)
v = vocals, g = guitar; b = bass, k = keyboards, d = drums


“Best-known for their early-'80s new wave pop hits, particularly I Got You, Split Enz — after surviving a dizzying array of image and personnel changes and a full decade without any recognition outside of their homeland — became the first New Zealand band to achieve worldwide success…Split Enz's output always seemed slightly outside of the times and often frustratingly obscure, but in the end, they left behind a body of work that was always interesting and often reached pure pop brilliance.” AMG

The Beginning:

“The band started life in 1971 at the Auckland University, where Tim [Finn] met up with (old friend) Mike Chunn, Robert Gillies, Philip Judd and Noel Crombie. From 1972 the band became a full-time occupation for the friends” NM and they formed “a light acoustic combo called Split Ends…Finn and Judd were the main songwriting force of the band's early years…Judd working out the basic song with lyrics and Finn providing the melodies.” AMG ”The musical style is best described as new wave - eclectic and wildly original, incorporating influences from art rock, vaudeville, swing, punk, rock and pop. Their costumes and hair were like nothing else, wild and colourful.” NM “Judd drew his inspiration from a wild variety of often non-musical sources while Finn’s tastes leaned toward the British pop of the Beatles, the Kinks, and the Move.” AMG

First Single and a Name Change:

“The group…record[ed] their first single, For You/Split Ends, in February of 1973. At Chunn's urging, the band went for a new, electric sound…and they changed their name to Split Enz…The group's shows took on a theatrical tone, as the band members wore wild, colorful costumes and sported a variety of odd hairdos. Finn acted as master of ceremonies, giving odd spoken soliloquies.” AMG

Debut Album:

“In March of 1975, the group travelled to Australia…they eventually earned a small cult following and secured a contract with Mushroom Records. Their debut album, Mental Notes, was recorded in two weeks. While their inexperience in the studio combined with an unsympathetic producer led to a less than satisfying result in the band's eyes, the album encapsulated the band at its artiest and most ambitious. The album made a brief appearance on both the Australian and New Zealand charts.” AMG

New Single, New Producer, New Album…Sort Of:

“Split Enz had caught the attention of Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera who offered to help the band with their next album; they arranged to meet him in England to redo Mental Notes. Before leaving, they recorded a new single, Late Last Night. Despite the complex song-structure, the single showed the band moving toward a pop direction; nevertheless, it failed to have much impact. ‘Late Last Night’ was accompanied by a video clip, which was an uncommon practice in 1976; the band would continue to make conceptual clips from that point on…Second Thoughts, essentially a reworked Mental Notes, was released toward the end of 1976.” AMG

Little Brother Neil:

“Between 1972 and 1977 Tim shared leader duties with Phil…When the latter left the band for good, younger brother Neil Finn joined at 17 years of age, and he went on to write most of the major hits the band had.” NM “The group began to move away from its arty, theatrical tendencies on…1977's Dizrhythmia. In Australia, the album went gold and the single My Mistake became their first Top 20 hit. In England, the group fared far worse. Though their odd looks and new, leaner material wasn't so far removed from post-punk styles, their earlier reputation seemed more in line with the progressive rock the punks sought to destroy.” AMG

“By early 1978, Split Enz had been dropped by Chrysalis…They continued writing new material at a feverish pace and rehearsing constantly…they recorded a new single with producer David Tickle — a straight-ahead rocker called I See Red – which charted respectably in Australia. Split Enz returned to Australia to make … 1978's Frenzy.” AMG

Commercial Peak:

“The band teamed up again with Tickle for…True Colours in 1979. The album lacked the excesses of their previous albums and showcased their new pure pop direction. With Neil Finn's seductive I Got You, the band finally broke through – the single and album hit number one in Australia and New Zealand, eventually selling 200,000 albums in Australia, the equivalent of one in every 10 homes in that country. The success led to an international deal with A&M Records. The band quickly recorded a follow-up during a mid-year break in touring. The result — called Corroborree in Australia and Waiata internationally – was released in April of 1981. The record was somewhat disappointing…but it did manage two hit singles, One Step Ahead and History Never Repeats.” AMG

“By late 1981, after many months of intensive touring, the band retreated to the studio to record their most personal and creatively satisfying album to date, Time & Tide. Released in 1982, it immediately topped the Australian and New Zealand charts. The advent of MTV and the channel’s commitment to new wave acts helped the band's growing cult status in America – both Dirty Creature and Six Months in a Leaky Boat (as well as earlier videos) saw heavy airplay on the channel — but the album failed to see much chart action.” AMG

Tim Goes Solo:

“Early in 1983, Tim took a break…to work on a solo album, Escapade. The album was a big success in Australia, spawning several hits singles including the Top Ten ‘Fraction Too Much Friction.’ For all of its success, though, the album distracted Tim…and effectively ending the momentum Split Enz had built over the previous three albums. Conflicting Emotions was finally finished by the fall of 1983…For this effort, [Tim] was overshadowed by brother Neil who had written a considerable majority of songs for the first time. The album, while predictably successful in Australia/New Zealand, saw a delayed release in the States and failed to make much impact.” AMG

“Before work was begun on the next album, Tim announced that he was leaving the band. With Neil as the leader, the band carried on for one more album – 1984's See Ya Round, an uneven album…released only in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Neil decided to fold the band following a farewell tour…for which Tim rejoined the group.” AMG

The End of Enz:

“Neil and Hester went on to form the internationally successful Crowded House, Tim continued a sporadic solo career, joining Crowded House for the Woodface album in 1991. Griggs, Crombie, and Judd formed Schnell Fenster, releasing two albums before disbanding.” AMG “Eddie Rayner joined Schnell Fenster, but soon after decided to form his own band called The Makers. They released two albums. His ENZSO project saw some of the members sing the old Split Enz songs in an orchestral setting with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and two albums were released with live recordings.” NM “Tim and Neil Finn reunited for a Finn Brothers album in 1995” AMG and released another set together in 2004. In between, both recorded solo albums.

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Studio Albums


Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies are noted. If the song charted, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to charts.

Beginning of the Enz

Split Enz

Recorded: 1973-1974

Released: November 1979

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


2.966 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


  1. Split Ends [1:53]
  2. For You [3:53] (2/73, 44 CL, 33 CO, 26 DF)
  3. 129 (Matinee Idyll) [2:50] (12/76, 44 CL, 26 CO)
  4. Home Sweet Home [3:46]
  5. Sweet Talking Spoon Song [3:24] (11/73, 45 CL, 33 CO)
  6. No Bother to Me [3:13] (4/74, 46 CL, 33 CO)
  7. Malmsbury Villa (Judd) [2:51]
  8. Lovey Dovey [3:26] (12/76, 39 CO)
  9. Spellbound [4:34]
All songs written by T. Finn/ Judd unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 29:50

About the Album (review by Chris Woodstra at
“This Australian-only release [of early demos] shows the band in its eccentric formative years before a recording contract. Light acoustic arrangements of songs appearing on later albums coupled with long-forgotten gems make this a favorite among die-hard fans. Not the most representative picture of the band, but an interesting one.”

“Spellbound” also appears on 1975’s Mental Notes. “Lovey Dovey” and “(129) Matinee Idyll” both appeared on the 1976 semi-compilation Second Thoughts.

Mental Notes

Split Enz

Released: January 1975

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, 35 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


3.570 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


  1. Walking Down a Road [5:26]
  2. Under the Wheel [7:49]
  3. Amy (Darling) [5:17]
  4. So Long for Now [3:18]
  5. Stranger Than Fiction [6:57]
  6. Time for a Change (Judd) [3:46] (3/76, 40 CL, 24 CO, 93 AU, 10 DF)
  7. Maybe [2:59] (9/75, 43 CL, 33 CO, 19 DF)
  8. Titus (Judd) [3:12]
  9. Spellbound [5:00]
  10. Mental Notes (Judd) [0:33]
All songs written by T. Finn/ Judd unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 44:17

About the Album (review by Chris Woodstra at
“The first proper Enz album features the band at its eccentric best. Mental Notes is completely noncommercial art rock filled with ambitious arrangements and slightly disturbing themes courtesy of the Phil Judd and Tim Finn songwriting partnership. Finn's bittersweet crooning perfectly complements Judd’s madman persona on tracks like ‘Stranger Than Fiction.’…The band would never again produce anything like it.”

In 1976, the album Second Thoughts combined four songs (“Walking Down a Road,” “Titus,” “Stranger Than Fiction,” “Time for a Change”) from Mental Notes with old songs “Lovey Dovey” and “Matinee Idyll (129)” (both featured on 1979’s archival Beginning of the Enz) and new songs “Late Last Night,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “The Woman Who Loves You.” To confuse matters, that album was released in the U.S. as Mental Notes.


Split Enz

Released: August 29, 1977

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, 18 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


3.456 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


  1. Bold as Brass (T. Finn/Gillies) [3:31] (12/12/77, 42 CL, 26 CO, 19 DF) NZ
  2. My Mistake (T. Finn/Gillies) [3:02] (8/15/77, 38 CL, 11 CO, 15 AU, 19 DF)
  3. Parrot Fashion Love (T. Finn/Rayner) [3:54]
  4. Sugar and Spice (Judd) [3:47]
  5. Without a Doubt (T. Finn) [6:07]
  6. Crosswords (T. Finn) [3:26]
  7. Charlie (T. Finn) [5:31] (40 CO, 19 DF) NZ
  8. Nice to Know (T. Finn/Judd/Rayner) [4:24]
  9. Jamboree (Split Enz) [6:35]
All songs written by T. Finn/Judd unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 40:14

About the Album (review by Chris Woodstra at
Dizrhythmia marks a change not only in personnel (half of the band had been replaced) but also musically and lyrically. With Tim Finn taking over the band, gone almost entirely are the neo-classical arrangements and abstract imagery in favor of a more direct approach that draws heavily from British Invasion-era pop as well as incorporating British music hall and straight-ahead rock & roll. And though the band is still hiding behind hair, colorful costumes, and the occasional swirl of carnival sounds, beneath it all Finn makes his most personal statements to date, showing his optimism and determination for the band's future while also revealing his uncertainty and fears. Most of the songs deal with relationships and, more specifically, his parting-of-ways with former collaborator and close friend Phil Judd.”


Split Enz

Released: February 19, 1979

Peak: -- US, -- UK, 49 CN, 24 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


3.199 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


  1. I See Red (T. Finn) [3:15] (11/6/78, 35 CL, 11 CO, 15 AU, 5 DF) US, NZ
  2. Give It a Whirl (T. Finn/N. Finn) [2:52] (5/14/79, 42 CL, 26 CO, 24 DF) NZ
  3. Master Plan (T. Finn) [3:00]
  4. Famous People (Finn) [2:52]
  5. Hermit McDermitt (Finn)
  6. Stuff and Nonsense (T. Finn) [4:30]
  7. Marooned (Rayner) [2:15]
  8. Frenzy (T. Finn/Rayner) [2:15]
  9. The Roughtest Toughest Game in the World (Finn) [3:43]
  10. She Got Body, She Got Soul (T. Finn) [2:55]
  11. Betty (T. Finn) [4:42]
  12. Abu Dhabl (Finn/Rayner) [4:31]
  13. Mind Over Matter (T. Finn/N. Finn) [2:52]

Total Running Time: 45:24

About the Album:
“Split Enz was at a stylistic crossroads when this was recorded, with one foot firmly planted in the defiant art rock of their idols and the other resting on the frontier of new wave. It’s not the smooth affair that subsequent albums (True Colours, Time and Tide) could boast of being.” CC

Even though this may be “often thought of as a transitional album, Frenzy shows the band in top form.” CC “A lot of the music here is catchy and intelligent, reflecting their influences (Genesis, Roxy Music) without sounding dated.” CC

“Produced in England on a diminished budget, the album showcases pure pop with a hungry edge” (Woodstra). “Stripped down of the earlier excesses, the album hints at the direction the band would take in the '80s while capturing a rare, rougher side to their music.” AMG

“The ballads Stuff and Nonsense and Semi-Detached – find their songwriting craft at full power. Most of the material is written by brothers Neil and Tim Finn, yet keyboardist Eddie Rayner contributes a real sleeper in Marooned and bassist Nigel Griggs converts the Enz into Australia’s answer to XTC on Livin’ It Up.” CC

I See Red, added after the initial pressing, became a moderate hit in Australia and New Zealand, allowing the band the financial freedom to follow up with the blockbuster True Colours in 1980.” AMG

“‘I See Red’ has since become the album’s spokesman on various compilations, but the songs that follow it – Give It a Whirl, Master Plan, Betty – are more likely to please fans of the Enz’ poppier exploits. It’s all a little rough hewn when weighed against their better work (a charge many level at Squeeze’s pre-Argybargy output), but fans will take some of these songs to heart.” CC

The U.S. release of Frenzy was markedly different than the original. Songs “Holy Smoke,” “Semi-Detached,” “Carried Away,” and “Livin’ It Up,” all from the legendary "Rootin' Tootin' Luton Tapes" recorded in 1978, were added to the album and “Famous People,” “The Roughest, Toughest Game in the World,” and “Abu Dhabl” were dropped.

Review Sources:

True Colours

Split Enz

Released: January 21, 1980

Peak: 40 US, 38 UK, 10 CN, 110 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


4.066 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).


  1. I Got You (N. Finn) [3:24] (1/21/80, 53 BB, 50 CB, 61 HR, 14 CL, 1 CO, 12 UK, 13 CN, 1 AU, 2 DF) US, NZ
  2. Shark Attack (T. Finn) [2:52] (13 DF) NZ
  3. What's The Matter with You (N. Finn) [3:02] (7/80, 40 CL, 26 DF, 8 DF) US
  4. Double Happy (Rayner) [3:15]
  5. I Wouldn't Dream of It (T. Finn) [3:14]
  6. I Hope I Never (T. Finn) [4:26] (4/12/80, 35 CL, 12 CO, 18 AU, 1 DF) US, NZ
  7. Nobody Takes Me Seriously (T. Finn) [3:24]
  8. Missing Person (N. Finn) [3:32]
  9. Poor Boy (T. Finn) [3:19] (9/80, 41 CL, 26 CO, 14 DF) US, NZ
  10. How Can I Resist Her (T. Finn) [3:26]
  11. The Choral Sea (Split Enz) [4:29]

Total Running Time: 38:23

About the Album:
“Split Enz blossomed into one of the smartest pop bands since The Beatles” CC and “found their place in new wave with True Colours, “signalling an end to this New Zealand export’s commercial anonymity.” CC They did so largely by “shedding the eccentricities and excesses of their past in favor of bright, highly memorable, Beatlesque pop.” AMG

“The album leads with the quirky favorite I Got You,” CC which “marked Neil Finn’s emergence as a great songcraftsman.” CC The song was also “buoyed by a pioneering video (no surprise given the band’s artistic bent) and an awfully catchy hook.” CC “Both the single and the album stand as highpoints of the new wave era.” AMG

“Despite not producing another hit, the album is chocked full of fine songwriting. Neil Finn contributes the Glass Onion-flavored What’s the Matter with You (a perennial favorite with fans) and the languid Missing Person (which references The Who in its chorus).” CC

“Brother Tim adds a strong ballad, I Hope I Never, characteristically wistful pop songs like Poor Boy, How Can I Resist Her and I Wouldn’t Dream of It, the irresistible Nobody Takes Me Seriously and the frenzied Shark Attack.” CC

“Rounding out the record, in lieu of filler, are two instrumentals: Rayner’s energized Double Happy and the group composition, The Choral Sea.” CC

“With True Colours, Split Enz moves into the elite corps of ‘new’ purveyors of pop that included Squeeze and XTC. What distinguishes the Enz from their peers is the choice of synthesizer over guitar as the lead instrument and a penchant for thoughtful pop or the occasional ballad. That and a genuine appreciation for their New Zealand roots make Split Enz a unique treat for pop fans, and True Colours an album that can hold its own with anything from the ‘80s.” CC

“The album cover was issued in several different color variations and featured laser-etched vinyl as a preventive to counterfeiting (although its visual appeal was likely a factor as well).” CC

Review Sources:


Split Enz

Released: March 1981

Peak: 45 US, -- UK, 17 CN, 13 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


3.527 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


  1. Hard Act to Follow (T. Finn) [3:17] (9/81, 40 CL, 26 CO, 8 DF) US
  2. One Step Ahead (N. Finn) [2:52] (11/17/80, 32 CL, 8 CO, 47 CN, 5 AU, 4 DF) US, NZ
  3. I Don't Wanna Dance (T. Finn) [3:34] (6/15/81, 42 CL, 23 CO, 65 AU, 26 DF)
  4. Iris (N. Finn) [2:50]
  5. Wail (Rayner) [2:49]
  6. Clumsy (T. Finn) [3:29]
  7. History Never Repeats (N. Finn) [3:00] (3/9/81, 33 AR, 24 CL, 4 CO, 63 UK, 4 AU, 5 DF) US, NZ
  8. Walking Through the Ruins (T. Finn) [4:15]
  9. Ships (N. Finn) [3:01]
  10. Ghost Girl (T. Finn) [4:26]
  11. Albert of India (Rayner) [4:03]

Total Running Time: 37:25

About the Album:
“With the success of True Colours, the labels (and perhaps the band as well) were anxious to get another record out quickly. Enter…an album that for all intents and purposes can be viewed as True Colour’s kid brother.” CC “Because of the hurried schedule of newfound international success, the follow-up to True Colours suffered. Waiata…[is done in] a slightly darker form that often lacks the punch that made True Colours great.” AMG

Incidentally, “Waiata is the Maori word for party. The album was given the Aboriginal party title, Corroboree in Australia.” AMG

Despite a couple of classic singles – One Step Ahead and History Never Repeats – and a handful of other inspired tracks, the album marks the band's first lateral move.” AMG

“The knock on this album is that it sounds unfinished. Walking Through the Ruins and Clumsy might have blossomed if given more time to gestate. This was, after all, a six-piece band, but Waiata doesn’t sound like it’s firing on all cylinders. Maybe it’s that the album favors subdued and moody arrangements; rather than grabbing your attention with Ships, they almost let it slip in under the radar.” CC

“Two instrumentals (both from Eddie Rayner) are included: Wail (apparently a denizen of ‘The Choral Sea’) and the stately Albert of India (which by coincidence sounds a lot like Vangelis’ theme for the Chariots of Fire movie).” CC

“They're still hyped as ‘avant-garde.’ Probably because they mix their twitty, intermittently tuneful art-pop with Nino Rota homages and stereo effects that go back to the house of Gary Usher.” RC

Also of note: “Following in the trend of True Colours, A&M issued three different colored covers for the worldwide release.” AMG

Review Sources:

Time and Tide

Split Enz

Released: April 13, 1982

Peak: 58 US, 71 UK, 4 CN, 12 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


3.813 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


  1. Dirty Creature (T. Finn/Griggs/N. Finn) [4:00] (3/15/82, 15 CO, 6 AU, 19 DF) US, NZ
  2. Giant Heartbeat (N. Finn/Griggs) [3:52]
  3. Hello Sandy Allen (N. Finn) [3:46]
  4. Never Ceases to Amaze Me (T. Finn) [3:03] (8/30/82, 31 CO, 50 AU, 16 DF)
  5. Lost for Words (Griggs/T. Finn/N. Finn) [2:56]
  6. Small World (T. Finn) [3:33]
  7. Take a Walk (N. Finn) [3:33]
  8. Pioneer (Rayner) [1:33] NZ
  9. Six Months in a Leaky Boat (T. Finn/Split Enz) [4:20] (5/17/82, 8 CO, 7 CN, 2 AU, 7 DF) US, NZ
  10. Haul Away (T. Finn) [2:26]
  11. Log Cabin Fever (N. Finn) [4:34]
  12. Make Sense of It (Split Enz) [3:30]

Total Running Time: 41:24

About the Album:
Time and Tide stands as the band’s creative peak and most fully realized effort. On previous albums, Split Enz remained distant and removed, only revealing what little they did between the lines; for Time and Tide, Tim and Neil Finn, while still clearly standing as outsiders, opened up, giving a rare glimpse at their feelings and thought processes.” AMG

“Tim exorcised demons and fears in the funky workout of” AMG the “suitably sinister” CC Dirty Creature and experienced a joyful communion with nature in Never Ceases to Amaze Me” Woodstra). He also “outlined a global view in Small World, and explored ancient folk music with Six Months in a Leaky Boat,” AMG “an opus unto itself” CC and Haul Away, an autobiographical sea shanty.” AMG

“Neil, on the other hand, gave darkly evocative yet slightly more abstract accounts in Giant Heartbeat, Take a Walk, and the claustrophobic Log Cabin Fever while still producing an infectious rocker in Hello Sandy Allen. In addition to the peaks in songwriting, the Enz never sounded tighter as a band, with lean, tasteful arrangements. The result is a timeless, thoroughly consistent album and the high point of the Enz catalog.” AMG

‘Dirty Creature’ and ‘Six Months in a Leaky Boat’ were both singles with, “of course, attendant videos.” CC “Yet the real attraction to this album lies deeper, its pop hooks waiting to snare unwary listeners. ‘Small World,’ ‘Never Ceases to Amaze Me,’ ‘Giant Heartbeat,’ ‘Make Some Sense of It’ and ‘Hello Sandy Allen’ rank right alongside the catchier cuts from their last two albums.” CC

“However, even these tracks are tempered with Time and Tide’s lyrical maturity; the boys clearly had something to say with this album, and it does get in the way of a good pop song sometimes…The second side of music features a shared moodiness that suggests something bigger afoot than a simple string of songs. Maybe everyone was waiting for the Enz to get serious.” CC It could be said that “True Colours had a youthful exuberance missing on the masterful and mature Time and Tide.” CC

Review Sources:

Conflicting Emotions

Split Enz

Released: November 21, 1983

Peak: 137 US, -- UK, -- CN, 13 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


3.172 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


  1. Straight Old Line (N. Finn) [4:00] (10/31/83, 22 CO, 42 AU, 18 DF) NZ
  2. Bullet Brain And Cactus Head (N. Finn) [3:55]
  3. Message To My Girl (N. Finn) [4:02] (1/2/84, 13 CO, 6 AU, 6 DF) US, NZ
  4. Working Up An Appetite (T. Finn) [4:05]
  5. Our Day (N. Finn) [4:54]
  6. No Mischief (N. Finn) [4:14]
  7. The Devil You Know (N. Finn) [3:34]
  8. I Wake Up Every Night (T. Finn) [4:45] (4/6/84, --)
  9. Conflicting Emotions (T. Finn) [4:31]
  10. Bon Voyage (T. Finn) [4:02]

Total Running Time: 41:20

About the Album:
“The distraction of a Tim Finn solo project (1983's Escapade) may have robbed Split Enz of the creative momentum produced by Time & Tide; Tim obviously spent much of his energy on that project, leaving him with a minority of songwriting credits for the first time since taking leadership of the band. So, despite a strong batch of songs from Neil — which includes the achingly beautiful love song Message to My Girl and the contemplative Our Day, which intimates the thoughts of the soon-to-be father — the album suffers from a general lack of focus. A misguided overreliance on drum machines and generally heavy-handed production are the real downfall, though, ultimately dating a solid though unexceptional album. The telling title track, as well as the album closer, Bon Voyage,” AMG the latter of which is “vintage Tim.” CC “hinted at Tim Finn's imminent departure from the band.” AMG

Conflicting Emotions indeed, as Tim Finn would soon split the Enz for a solo career. With Tim distracted by his own Escapade, brother Neil and Eddie Rayner rowed harder to keep the band afloat. They succeed in some cases, notably on the beautiful ballads ‘Message to My Girl’ (though I’m tempted to call it a Squeeze knockoff) and The Devil You Know. But Tim’s overtapped well of ideas and Neil’s overtaxed share of the songwriting meant that second-string ideas like Bullet Brain and Cactus Head found themselves pressed into service. Rayner’s production touch is hardly invisible, with lots of mechnical effects (he’s credited with keyboards and “machines,” if that’s any indication) layered in the arrangements. Sometimes the busy arrangements bury a good idea (No Mischief), sometimes they amplify it (Straight Old Line).” ( The latter is “as fine as fish as you’d find in Time and Tide’s catch.” CC

It would be nice to “say the band went out with a bang, [but] it was more of a mechanical clank. Time and Tide and True Colours were great albums, Waiata and Frenzy good ones, but Conflicting Emotions is merely okay. The band replaces emotion with effects, and the prickly-sweet adventures of old become agitated encounters…the subsequent See Ya Round is one worth ditching, so this may be as far as some Split Enz fans are willing to venture.” CC

Review Sources:

See Ya Round

Split Enz

Released: November 22, 1984

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, 29 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


2.795 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


  1. Breakin’ My Back (N. Finn) [3:53]
  2. I Walk Away (N. Finn) [3:50] (9/84, 30 CO, 45 AU, 25 DF)
  3. Doctor Love (N. Finn) [4:17]
  4. One Mouth Is Fed (N. Finn) [3:26] (11/30/84, 37 DF)
  5. Years Go By (N. Finn/Rayner) [4:14]
  6. Voices (N. Finn) [3:31]
  7. The Lost Cat (Rayner) [5:40]
  8. Adz (Griggs) [4:12]
  9. This Is Massive (Hester) [3:18]
  10. Kia Kaha (N. Finn) [4:06]
  11. Ninnie Knees Up (Crombie) [3:17]

Total Running Time: 43:44

About the Album (review by Chris Woodstra at
“With Tim Finn departing for a solo career, Neil Finn takes charge of the aging band for their final studio album. While not living up to the band's previous brilliance, songs such as Years Go By, One Mouth Is Fed, and an early version of I Walk Away are delightful Finn compositions. Side two features songs written by each of the remaining members.”

History Never Repeats

Split Enz

Recorded: 1976-84

Released: 1987

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, 62 AU, 13 DF

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


3.791 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

Tracks (U.S. version): (1) I Got You (2) Hard Act to Follow (3) Six Months in a Leaky Boat (4) What’s the Matter with You (5) One Step Ahead (6) I See Red (7) Message to My Girl (8) History Never Repeats (9) I Hope I Never (10) Dirty Creature (11) Poor Boy

Tracks (New Zealand/Australian version): (1) Give It a Whirl (2) My Mistake (3) I See Red (4) Late Last Night (5) I Got You (6) Shark Attack (7) Poor Boy (8) I Hope I Never (9) History Never Repeats (10) One Step Ahead (11) Dirty Creature (12) Pioneer (13) Six Months in a Leaky Boat (14) Straight Old Line (15) Message to My Girl (16) Charlie (live)

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Late Last Night (3/76, 39 CL, 17 CO, 93 AU, 16 DF) NZ

About the Album:
It’s hard to grasp how Split Enz weren’t as big in America during the college radio heyday of the early ‘80s as other imports like U2, INXS, the Cure, and Depeche Mode. It may be that they came a little earlier than those, but their pioneering new wave sound and videos splashed with color and quirkiness would have seemed naturals for massive spins on MTV. This collection serves as a great sampling of the band that was way too overlooked.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 4/7/2008; last updated 6/1/2024.

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