Monday, May 25, 2009

New Wave for the New Week #11

Split EnzSplit Enz

New Zealand's Split Enz were among the most popular of the MTV-era New Wave acts, scoring video hits with songs like "I Got You", "History Never Repeats" and "One Step Ahead." Their two early 80's LPs, Waiata and True Colors, are must-haves for any fan of the New Wave.

But few of those early '80s fans realized that Split Enz were no newcomers to the scene. In fact, by the time those two classic albums hit the shelves, Split Enz had already logged ten years of recording and a slight rethinking of their approach.

The band was formed in New Zealand in 1971, and first appeared on vinyl with a 1973 single, "For You." In those early days, they were Split Ends, and were a band greatly influenced by British prog rock. Comparisons to bands like Traffic and Peter Gabriel-era Genesis were not uncommon, but the band toiled away in obscurity. A change to the more familiar phonetic spelling of the band name did little to bring them much attention.

Founding member Phil Judd left the band in 1977, and would go on to form The Swingers (who will be featured next week). He was replaced by Neil Finn, brother of original member Tim Finn. This new lineup embraced the emerging Punk and New Wave sound, and combined it with the overblown theatrics of the Prog Rock scene to create their own niche. A move to England helped them reach a wider audience, and soon they were embraced by an initial cult following that quickly grew into more widespread acceptance.

Among the earliest of the New Wave-era Split Enz singles is the slightly odd but goofily enjoyable "Bold As Brass", a 1977 single that is this week's New Wave for the New Week. Enjoy!

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  1. great song, thanks Bryan! I love Neil Finn and while I like Split Enz, I haven't fully explored their music. I really need to.

  2. Glad you liked! Definitely grab Waiata and True Colors if you don't already have them; Dysrythmia, which is the album this song comes from, is worth finding, too.