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The debate over best LPs brought to mind an issue regarding "Frenzy" which seems to be a favourite LP among many.

It's been a while since I've read Mike Chunn's book which might answer this question, but does anyone else notice how bad the production is? Like how muddy the album is generally and how some instruments are practically buried?

I guess I'm thinking of things like that brilliant distorted guitar figure in "Marooned", the acoustic guitar in "Stuff and Nonsense" (which I never heard until it was cleaned up for "Spellbound") and other bits here and there which suffered because many of the songs sound like they were compressed into a tiny litle ball...

I can only imagine what say "Mind Over Matter" or "Master Plan" might sound like if the tracks had a bit more room to breathe, so to speak, so I was really disappointed that my CD copy (from the Gold box) sounded almost exactly like the old cassette copy I used to have.

Or am I just imagining this...?

Original Post
With regard to the production on the Frenzy album, Mike Chunn's book says - tactfully - that Split Enz "failed to choose a producer with any real careful thought". I've read/heard several interviews where Tim, Neil, and Eddie expressed their dissatisfaction with the producer (Mallory Earl) in much stronger language ;-) Tim has said he considers Frenzy their worst album.
I was on a plane once and was listening to the in-flight Classic Hits channel, and all of a sudden an interview with Tim Finn came on, and he was discussing the Frenzy album (and, well, how bad it was!) his exact words were:
"It was a debacle - the worst album we ever made"
he then went on to say how they didnt like the producer because he was treating them like they were going to be the next Beatles, and how generally they didnt have a good time recording the album.

Just though I'd mention it =)

Cheers, Will.
Hey when you guys say that TF considers it the "worst" Split Enz LP (I don't remember ever coming across the quote) does he mean from a sound quality point of view only? or was he down on the songs as well? That would be hard to imagine, some of my favourites were on there...

It's a shame that it wasn't cleaned up for the gold box set re-release.

What would be even better, would be for the "luton sessions" to released as an album. Various members of Split Enz have always said that the playing and production of FRENZY never matched the raw energy of the same songs during the luton sessions. I know that there was a reissue of FRENZY years ago that swapped some songs with Luton material. But that is long out of print. Why not just release all or the best tracks from the Luton sessions on CD. That way everyone is happy. The fans get a new Split Enz album, and get to hear how FRENZY was perhaps originally intended to sound.

Personally, I quite like FRENZY. I reckon that underneath the terrible production are some stunning songs waiting to be heard in a different light. By the way, is it just me, or is the vocal track on STUFF N NONSENSE to low in the mix. This is in no way a criticism of Tim's vocal work on the track. It's just that the way it was produced, you have to really struggle to hear it.
I think Frenzy is a COOOOOL album, with many of my favourite songs... of course there's "I See Red" (the ringing tone on my mobile, no less!), but "Stuff and Nonsense", "Give It A Whirl", "Semi Detached", "Mind over Matter", "Hermit McDermitt... all CLASSIC Enz IMO.
But yes, the production is pants. Having heard these songs live, Frenzy is really disappointing to listen to... very muddy and - well, none of the aforementioned songs really "grabbed" me until I heard non-Frenzy and/or live versions. I'd love a "cleaner" version, just to have all the songs in one place again but more "listenable".

"Anything is possible if you ask at the right time. It's all a matter of timing"

Neil Finn (Dublin, 17/7/92)

[This message has been edited by Jen (edited 30 August 2000).]
You know I have been reading these posts and I didn't understand the problem. So I got my vinyl of Frenzy and took a look and sure enough, WHAT YOU HAVE ASKED FOR EXISTS! My copy reads: All tracks remixed by Split Enz February 1981...............All tracks except "I See Red" were remixed February, 1981 at Armstrongs Recording Studios, Melbourne, Australia.

Then this:

Like and old hulk
Hauled onto dry docksTo have barnacles removed
Such is the "New" Frenzy

Here is my theory, the Enz hit in the States with True Colours then Wiata. I think they pulled Frenzy out of the closet and brushed it up to take advantage of their new found popularity here. And it sounds very good, as good as most of their others and it is truly an excellant record, one of my favorites.

The North American release of Frenzy was instigated by Split Enz's Canadian record company, according to the small print on the sleeve notes. The newly-added songs (Holy Smoke, Semi Detached, Carried Away, Living It Up) are great, but I can't say I regard all the remixed versions as an improvement over the original - the heavier tracks like "Give It A Whirl" and "Mind Over Matter" sound rather weedy to me.

Nevertheless, it's yet another Enz item that deserves to be reissued on CD, but probably won't be
Definitely a strong strong case for 2 more releases of Frenzy to come out on CD.

1. The Frenzy Remixes. This is the Canadian Frenzy, also released in America and the UK. All remixed except I See Red - all sounding different. Maybe it is up to A&M Canada to do this as it is they that initially got this release happening.

2. Luton Sessions. Not one of these has been released on an album. 28 songs recorded in 4 days and none are on CD. A truly fantastic double CD just waiting to happen.

Cheers - Lozza.
Someone asked me for more info on this interview I heard with Tim Finn on the plane - to be honest, I honestly cant remember it that well! It was in January, and I only heard it once, and couldnt record it or anything, so sorry.

Anyway, about the Rootin Tootin Loton tapes -
in 1982 a NZ music compilation was released called "More Hits and Myths!" on XSF Records.
Its only avaliable on vinyl, and is long out of print. Anyway, it contains the R.T.L. version of the song "Next Exit" and is completley different version to the single that was released in 1983 - it also has different lyrics and is brilliant. I dont think you can find it anywhere else apart from on this LP. As I said its a NZ music compilation and has two other Enz related songs - "One Track Mind" by The Swingers and "Like Elvis" by Geoff Chunn.

Cheers, Will.
In regards to Lozza's post:

>1. The Frenzy Remixes ... All remixed >except I See Red - all sounding different.

and the Luton tapes, as far as I was aware, the A&M version of Frenzy IS the Luton sessions (well, the best of them anyway) (except I See Red). For anyone wondering about Luton, you can hear some of these tracks if you look hard enough. Semi-detached and Hermitt Mcdermitt are on the Spellbound CD, H MCd and Message Boy are on the I See Red single, Hypnotised and Carried Away are on the I Hope I Never single and Holy Smoke is on the History Never Repeats single. These are all fairly easy to find in Australia, and most Enz collectors have them. It would be nice to have them all on CD though. And as for never hearing the acoustic guitar on Stuff and Nonsense, that's because it isn't actually there on the Frenzy album. STuff and Nonsense was remixed in 1997 by Eddie Raynor, and that is what is on the Spellbound album. There are quite a few differences, the keyboards the placement of the vocal harmony, the absence of most of Noel's Tam Tam and the acoustic guitar.
I personally find "Frenzy" to be my favorite Enz album (well, right on the heels of Time & Tide) and both Australian and Canadian versions are blissful. My favorite track is "Give It A Whirl" The recordings on a purely listenable scale are pretty uneven and muddy. I think we (southern and northern hemispheres) should unite and demand the Luton tapes be released as a double CD. These are tremendous songs-again, a different style of songwriting by the Enz. This chapter of their career should definitely be reshared with the world.
Bring it on!

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