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A lot of us here love the songs from Frenzy, it's just that the actual recording of it is terrible. The sound quality bites, and there are better performances of some of the songs out there, from the Luton Recordings, which are mostly unreleased. Eddie re-mixed it in 1981, but those mixes weren't much better in my opinion, just weirder.
The problem is mostly that while it's a good album, it's in no way representative of how good the Enz were in those days, how good their sound as a band was, and the sheer energy they had. It just didn't convey the anger and the desperation of their time in England in 1978, and their sheer passion, belief and determination as well as the recordings from Luton do. If you've ever heard the recordings of some of the songs that were used in the film of the 1979 Nambassa Festival, even though they were partly re-recorded for the film, you can really here how blistering they were live at the time.
Had Frenzy been done recorded by a sympathetic producer\engineer team, it could have been an absolutely amazing album, and I guess that's why it disappoints a little in it's actual form.
The entire cataloge could probably use a good remastering and packaging upgrade, and knowing my luck, it will happen a month after I buy them all!
Fingers crossed that the new AI technology used for the Beatles by Giles Martin in recent times will be used on the 'Frenzy' album in the not too distant future. If there's any album deserving of it (and in need of it), it's this terrific album!
Did you miss Eddie's 2006 remastered/remixed version of Frenzy on CD.
No, I did hear it. I didn't really think it cleaned the issues up though. From memory, I seem to remember that 'Stuff and Nonsense' sounded great (as it was available from a different source), but the rest didn't sound anything like as good as that one. Plus, I didn't like what Eddie did with 'Abu Dhabi' (mixing the lyrics so low that they can't be heard). It's a great song; I want to hear the lyrics.
Frenzy indeed is a much maligned record yet it remains a vital connection between Dizrhythmia and True Colours. The choice of producer as dictated by the record company must have had much to do with not only the recording process but also the choice of songs. For those who are lucky enough to have the Luton album (let alone the rare double C.D. version), it is this which makes for the better version of Frenzy. The songs have greater promise and the sheer hunger of the playing makes the Luton album nigh on my favourite Enz album of all. While I loathe mentioning this, have any of you heard the parallels inside the motif of 'Abu Dhabi' crop up later within the tremeloed guitar melody and chords of 'Átomic' by Blondie? Ironic that the engineer of the latter song is David Tickle. The band was extremely brave with Frenzy because they had every reason to break up at that point: living on the smell of an oily rag throughout 1978, the huge number of songs that were written and overlooked, the ins and outs of being back with Mushroom Records, the costs of recording Frenzy, leaving England for the Antipodes with only Nambassa and the hope of 'I See Red' to keep them going...it's a testimony to their strength of purpose, musicianship, and friendship that Split Enz kept going when many other bands would have given up the ghost (girl). The band must have felt as though the 2 years of 1978 and 1979 were like a decade of hard work and determination, especially when realising that Beginning of the Enz was to be released 2 months before True Colours (how that was decided upon, I don't know) following 9 or 10 months touring Frenzy. A phenomenal band then; even more so now.
If you like Frenzy, the double cd edition of The Rootin Tootin Luton Tapes is the way to go. I'm not sure how hard it is to get hold of these days, but I know it doesn't turn up too often
I've heard it, but I much prefer the versions on the original Frenzy release (maybe because they are the ones I heard many times before hearing any others). I just wish the sound quality was better. If that never happens, I'll still enjoy listening to it anyway.