I came to know the Split Enz catalog long after the band's demise, and the Phil Judd period of the band's history has never been my favorite. And other than seeing a few YouTube videos of the Swingers or Schnell Fenster, I have been relatively in the dark about Phil Judd's solo career. So I guess you could say that I hardly qualify as being a long-time, unabashed Phil Judd fan ...
So imagine my surprise at being completely blown away by listening to Judd's "Play It Strange" tracks on Soundcloud. The first time through, I tried to listen to them while doing other things, and I found myself stopping in my tracks to focus on the songs. Repeated listenings only made me appreciate them more. Musically muscular, lyrically fascinating, full of hooks and riffs ... wow! ... the only thing I'm still not fully in love with is Phil's (at times) kooky voice.
For me, this album is FAR more interesting and fun than anything I've heard out of the Finn camp in the last few years, and that's saying something, because I'm a particularly huge fan of Neil and Liam (whose "I'll Be Lightning" album had a similar "Wow!" effect on me), and I cheer for their success -- and, by extension, my listening pleasure -- mightily.
It just makes me think of what could have been and what perhaps could still be (?) -- those great Neil and Tim harmonies floating over Phil Judd's lyrics and musical arrangements. I mean, if "Play It Strange" had the Finns doing the vocals, I would probably listen to no other albums for a few years.