March 16th, 2008

split enz

CD Review - Split Enz - "The Rootin' Tootin' Luton Tapes"

There's been a bit of a trend lately of some of the more... mature... pop groups around the place getting back together and recording another album for old time's sake. The results have varied from the spectacular (Terminals), to the very good (Cold Chisel), to the good enough while not being brilliant (Verlaines), to the somewhat lacklustre (Crowded House). There's always the worry that in the intervening decade or so, the band members may have lost that collective spark of creativity that makes them more than just a few people playing music together.

With The Rootin' Tootin' Luton Tapes, Split Enz have managed to avoid that problem entirely: the 15 songs on this album were all recorded in 1978, but due to record company dithering around were never released: some songs later appeared on single B-sides, rarities albums, live albums or CD "bonus tracks", but the majority haven't been heard outside of bootlegs and live shows.

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In short: This album isn't just for completists and collectors. It's a fine album in itself with some excellent songs. Anyone who likes Dizrythmia or Frenzy should give it a listen. (Anyone not familiar with Split Enz' music would be better off getting the "Spellbound" greatest hits set first, to familiarise themselves with the band; but if they're impressed by songs like "I See Red" or "Semi Detached" then this would be a definite Album To Find Later On.)