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I think it is. For one thing, it has melodies. It has the wit that TOE was missing. It also has more heartbreak than TOE. The only thing it doesn't have is the power of a record label who can get Judd appearances on Rove.

What do you guys think?

UDDATE: In light of other stuff that is going down, this isn't **** stirring - it's a serious question. And no, no one (phil or close to phil) asked me to post this.
Original Post
Well, for me it's no contest seeing as how I've been so disappointed by TOE that I'm not buying it or even going to see them when they hit town - an extreme reaction perhaps (especially considering how big a fan I used to be) but the album just highlighted everything that I've had problems with in Neil's music since around One Nil.

Novelty Act on the other hand (IMHO), while not flawless, is one of the best and most consistent post-Enz albums from any of the ex-Enzers - attitude, energy, experimentation, excitement... It hits a lot of buttons for me in what I look for in music these days.
Hmmm, I'm not so sure one way or another to be honest.

I really like both albums, I'd also like to throw Tim's Imaginary Kingdom in with them both seeing as that's his most recent release.

I think that PJ's album is certainly more experimental and varied (as would be expected) and possibly has moments that I prefer than both TOE and IK, but IMO I feel that it also has moments that I don't personally like as much.

So I'd have to sit on the fence with all three albums.

I know that both TF and NF do get plugged much more than PJ, but both do work really hard with regards to touring etc, which PJ prefers not to do. I tend to regard both TF and NF as being 100% singers/songwriters/musicians, whereas PJ splits his time 50-50 with artwork and so consequently tends to not be quite so prolific and probably spends a longer time recording each album (this is not meant to be a criticism, just the way that I see it).

Also, whereas both TF and NF tend to be aiming towards a relatively similar audience to each other (if you like one, the odds are that you'll probably like both, I know that some would disagree). I personally feel that PJ has quite a different audience in the main and that the only reason why they tend to be compared is that they have a common starting ground, which in the case of PJ and TF occurred about 35 years ago.

Highlighting the problems that have occurred recently I don't understand why there should be a rivalry, the differences should be celebrated.
All recent events aside, here's an interesting musical thread.

I've only heard a few tracks from Novelty Act - So I can't judge the album completely.

I've heard "No One's Best Man", "Falling Off A Cloud" and "Eyes In The Back of My Head".

I wasn't completely taken with "Eyes In The Back of My Head", although it did remind me a little of "Summer Of '68" from the Mr. Reliable OST.

I really enjoyed "No One's Best Man", and "Falling Off A Cloud", they were musically interesting and really well produced.

I can't compare "Novelty Act" to "Time On Earth" though for two reasons, firstly as aforementioned, I haven't heard all of Novelty Act, and secondly - It's not really comparing apples to apples. Both the records appeal to different sides of my musical taste. I'd be unlikely to listen to them back to back, as they're both different moods.

I really like about 80% of Time On Earth (There's one or two songs that just aren't my thing), and I generally like what I've heard of Novelty Act.
A man of paint and brush
Life please waken this man with a hush
Give him clear courage
Colour his heart

Be gracious - let him see
Peel back those layers of years
Remove the coat of darkness
Banish the fear - bring it to its knees
Lighten his load with respect

Clear his path with trust and compassion
Give him love and understanding
Give this man of paint and brush
Time
I've have both cds.

Firstly to those who have only heard the tracks off phils myspace site - do yourself a favour and get the cd before its sold out - it has much better sound and depth - not to mention multiple killer tracks.

Time on Earth - I have only gone back for a couple of listenings. It feels flat and uninspiring. To me, its Neil in a comfort zone. He does what he does well - no doubt about it.

Novetly Act on the other hand has all the compelling aspects that made the early enz so interesting. Nothing taken for granted. Phil breaks tradition including his own. Challenging himself musically and lyrically. Its a breathtaking album - honest, witty and inventive.

It sounds fresh whereas Time on Earth is like last weeks custard.
quote:
Originally posted by Incognito:
Novetly Act on the other hand has all the compelling aspects that made the early enz so interesting. Nothing taken for granted. Phil breaks tradition including his own. Challenging himself musically and lyrically. Its a breathtaking album - honest, witty and inventive.

It sounds fresh whereas Time on Earth is like last weeks custard.


Well said!
It took me a long time to appreciate Phil Judd and his contribution to Enz. What comes through with Phil's writing is that he just lets it all hang out, he tells it like it is. The layering of all the sounds is fantastic too. And he's not afraid of noise. He offers a different perspective on living life. An eccentricity of artistry?
Mr Phudd and his Novelty Act definitely. this album is a revelation, i think the best thing Phil has done since Split Enz it is more musically involved, such care and effort has been put into it. Lyrically it is astonishing it really takes guts to let out something like this. Phil also seems to be reconnecting with his early enz persona in a totally new way. It is so good to have a new album from this very talented man.

Time on earth is nice but as others have said we seem to have heard it all before. I think Neil would be better off working on a new Split Enz album, it might freshen him up a bit. Imaginary Kingdom is much better and shows that both Phil & Tim are still very creative.
quote:
Originally posted by troubleasusual:
Since when did sales reflect quality? Come off it.

Who should come off it? You're the one talking about about quality in connection to album sales. All Borris said was he'd hate to see the sales of the albums compared - said in connection to Neil's "charmed life."

If you look up the page he picked Novelty Act as the better album.
Imho .. When one looks at it in the perspective of
who writes the best catchy hook to a tune,the kind of hook that just grabs instant attention .. Neil wins this contest hands down .. c'mon lets be realistic here .. Phil Judd's "Counting The Beat" .. catchy hook and great song.But one needs to be consistent with more follow through.Neil manages this effortlessly because in reality he is the smarter more gifted musician .. this is no slight upon Phil Judd himself a great musician,whom I am sure will surprise us all one day with something really great .. It's not Neils fault that he was just plain born way smarter than the average bear. Compounded with the tall poppy b******t that goes along with it .. one can understand full well the meaning of - Feel like hiding out.
People need to know their limitations - Learn to live with them ..recognize it .. and get over it.
quote:
Originally posted by Hunter:
Imho .. When one looks at it in the perspective of
who writes the best catchy hook to a tune,the kind of hook that just grabs instant attention .. Neil wins this contest hands down .. c'mon lets be realistic here .. Phil Judd's "Counting The Beat" .. catchy hook and great song.But one needs to be consistent with more follow through.Neil manages this effortlessly because in reality he is the smarter more gifted musician .. this is no slight upon Phil Judd himself a great musician,whom I am sure will surprise us all one day with something really great .. It's not Neils fault that he was just plain born way smarter than the average bear.


Hmmm. The main issue is which album is better Time on Earth or Mr Phudd. I would go with Mr Phudd. Neil seems to be operating on automatic pilot on his album wheras Mr Judd has made his best post Split Enz album. This was the album that surprised me. Judd's writing is more personal than ever, it is daring, the music is more varied. I think Mr Phudd is a great album.

The question of who is the greater artist Neil or Phil is much harder. Some might argue that it's impossible to answer as they are so different. I'm a fool and will jump in where angels fear to tread.

I think you're right Hunter, Neil can pull out the hooks and melodies with greater ease than Phil. The sales of Neil's records reflect that. I love a lot of Neil's Enz songs. Give it a Whirl and I Got You are classics that really do it for me. My favourite Enz album though is Mental Notes which was lead by Judd, when i am in the mood for this I find it compelling and it plays with me in strange and haunting ways.

Neil's post Enz work I respect but often it doesn't engage me. I like Woodface best of the Crowded House album's as it has a greater variety & spice with Tim contributing.

Phil's post Enz work, I feel he may have turned his back too much on the Enz and over simplified his music. Phil's character and vocals were always unique and engaging and i like all his post Enz material. I don't think they displayed his full potential though. With Mr Phudd, Phil allowed some of that Enz spirit back in to his writing, but it was also a move forward. His lyrics became incisive edgy and personal and the music feels like he had time to nurture it and let it grow.

I would love to see an Enz reunion album with Phil leading because I would love to see some of that Finn (could be Tim's or Neil's or both) musicality augmenting the Judd creativity it could be fantastic.

But to sum up Neil vs Phil. This is very subjective, I recognise that Neil has greater melodic gifts but I find Mr Judd more interesting. I engage with Phil's work and am compelled to listen especially with Mr Phudd. Neil's work makes me feel nice but I often find i stop listening and am only hearing it. So I'll go with Phil, very hard call though.
quote:
Neil manages this effortlessly because in reality he is the smarter more gifted musician

Hmm, have you studied all of Judd's work? The large amount of film soundtracks he's written? I'm not his #1 fan, but I think that's a big statement to make. Judd has put out an output that is extremely varied in genre, where as Finn has simply been doing his thing within the same genre really. Neither write or produce similar music either, so I personally think it's pointless trying to compare the two. I don't think commercial success has anything to do with who's the more gifted musician. Certainly I thought Novelty Act was fresh and new from someone who had something to say. Time On Earth for me was someone in their comfort zone, not trying to stretch themselves or do anything different or new. So ToE got a big yawn from me, whereas Novelty Act made me sit up and take notice.
I would hardly say Neil is the more "smarter" gifted musician. Gifted - maybe, at present he can stand and perform in front of thousands of people, which puts him one up on Phil there. I love Neil Finn and he writes his words and music to perfection which a lot, or rather a hell of a lot, of people really enjoy. He does inspire and fills lots of people with raptureous joy. Juddsy tears the edges and moves the boundaries. You're not really sure what you're going to get from him. TOE was classic Neil. Sure Phil's not commercial, but I bet he could be if he really tried. And who's to say Phil doesn't have a draw full of similar "Counting the Beats" lying around that he just thought "sod it" and decided to try something else.
Performers like Judd fascinate me. I don't listen to Novelty Act very often but I do like it a lot.
Neil makes me smile and I enjoy nearly everything he's written. TOE has some lovely tunes on it, but at present I've only got half of them on my MP3.
It's so subjective. You can't compare them. You can support your favourite musician - a popular pastime on this board, obviously, but it's abit silly putting these two albums up against one another.
Perhaps the question posed by this thread is a bit unfair. The majority of people who have heard Novelty Act are already die hard Phil Judd fans. Since Phil is kind of the underdog of this forum (since his last name isn't Finn and he was never in CH), Phil fans are more than eager for a chance to proclaim that his work is superior. The "casual" Phil fans are extremely few and far between. I question whether it's possible to even take notice of Novelty Act without actively hunting it down. It's not on the radio, Phil doesn't play shows, you don't hear it on TV or in the movies. My point is, the simple fact that you have purchased and are listening to Novelty Act means that you must be one devoted Phil Judd fan.

That being said, I did purchase Novelty Act because I am a bit of Phil fan and I like quite a bit of it. I pull it out from time to time when I want something left of center that still has a good beat. However, I listen to at least one song from TOE just about every single day because it's *that* good. It may be the worst CH album but I think it's superior to Neil's solo work and the two FB albums. TOE has depth, emotion, and beauty while Novelty Act is just that: a novelty.
I don't think I would gush about a particular musician if they sang rubbish just because I'm their biggest fan.
If Neil or Tim released a stinker - I'd let you know about it. (has there ever been a thread of Finn songs you can't stand? I have a few.)
I listen to alot of music from people I am not a fan of. Listening to certain music is for enjoyment and relaxation, not because I'm a paid up member of a club and it's my duty.
Actually, I get a lot of tips from people on this forum about music I'm not familiar with. They mention an artist and I go and have a listen. If I like, I buy.

I believe you maybe right that, because he is less known, Phil fans are more than eager for a chance to proclaim that his work is superior......but Neil fans do that constantly as well so.... Wink

I much prefer Try Whistling This to Time On Earth. TWT is Neil to perfection.
quote:
Originally posted by Kazzie:
I don't think I would gush about a particular musician if they sang rubbish just because I'm their biggest fan.
If Neil or Tim released a stinker - I'd let you know about it. (has there ever been a thread of Finn songs you can't stand? I have a few.)

Amen, Kazzie. It would be a stretch to say a fan has any particular "duties", but...if there were such duties, I would put "Rigorous and critical appreciation of the artist's virtues, with a corresponding awareness of when they fail to live up to them," WELL ahead of "Eager, automatic, fawning praise of all the artist's output regardless of whether it measures up to their usual standard."

In fact, the second is no virtue at all in my book. A fan isn't meant to hold their nose and offer encouragement at all costs. A true fan ought to be honest. A confident and supremely gifted artist ought not to be coddled - and, when they go looking for feedback, unstinting honesty is of far greater value than obsequious fawning.

Having said that, all the above applied more to other artists than to these guys. For my money, Crowded House have never released a bad song or even sounded a bad note. Everything they churn out turns to gold in my grateful ears, and I for one am already convinced that their next album is going to be their best - just like the last one was!!!! Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

Paināporo - wow, what an interesting point you raise, re Phil Judd's fanbase. Exposure really does change the picture entirely. A band like CH has had enough exposure to where they have a whole range of enthusiasm in their fanbase - with a hard core of fans every bit as die-hard as Phil's, to be sure, but from there there's a smooth gradation that goes all the way down the enthusiasm scale to casual fan or even "I always loved that song! Who sings it?"

Now, artists with so much less exposure don't really get the chance to woo and win over those casual fans over a period of time. It's basically either one-nibble-and-your-hooked, or nothing.

I don't say that says anything about the relative merits of either act, but it's a whole different picture to be sure.
Oh good, I thought maybe I'd been moderated or something...anyhow, what I was going to say was that the choice of the word "better" is the problem here...a very, vague/subjective term...better in terms of what?..what's your criteria...in terms of CREATIVITY, "Novelty Act" is a "Hard Act To Follow" (ahem)...Phil's on fire at the moment and I imagine this is largely due to the creative autonomy afforded him by the wonder of Protools home recording and the Internet (not to mention his managing to reatian a child-like wonder of life, indeed here MID-life)...If you're not a songwriter or in a band you'll never understand just how true Charlie Watts famous quote about the Stones being 95% sitting around/ 5% playing is, not too mention the way in which the once-owners (and censors)of the media distribution who were/are constantly stiffling any sign of creativity that might offend, just take all the fun (and therfore creative impetous) out of music making, the reason we become musicians/artists is because we DON'T WANT TO BE BANK CLERKS OR INSPECTORS (and yes I am still on topic hear me out please)...Phil Judd simply wouldn't be allowed to release a album as creative as Novelty Act (or the what seems to be even "better" ha ha follow-up Love is A Moron)in todays bland bland bland music biz...to be honest, the truth is it's miracle that the Enz material 72-76 got released anyway...all I can say is Viva la internet and all the autonomy/creativity/inappropriateness it brings...creativity is sometimes shocking, wild like innocent young children who say what they think without censoring their thoughts...usually offending all and sundry with their frankness...unfortunately, the Crowdies album is just too busy "playing the game" of the music biz, no blame (I'd hate to be under the pressures that Neil Finn is to make "product X" )but it doesn't make me enjoy his music any more (and I used to be a big fan)...I hope the moderators will appreciate the fact that I edited out any signs of creativity (or the "F" word...Fun, that is)from this post and kept it as dry and uninteresting as possible, this isn't an attack...just a songwriter's perspective on the link between creativity and censorship and how it effects the output of so many talented inidividuals (same happens with film makers like Terry Gilliam
Quite good points there M. Stak. The only thing I would disagree with was that Neil was 'playing the game' on Time On Earth. I think he's just been passing through a mood of mellower muse these past few outings (TOE, EIH and arguably parts of One Nil). I think the band's reenergization will spark some fire on the next go. But it could be he's just...you know..."getting old"? Smiler A lot of folks tend to get less interested in rocking out and more interested in plumbing the depths of melodic beauty and a more heart-on-sleeve sentiment.

What I'm saying is, I recognize a mellowing trend in Finn's music, but I doubt it's due to pressure to succeed. I believe he's making the music that interests him at this point in his life.

I quibble too much on one point! Because the rest of what you have to say, quite fiery and inspirational. Keep writing (and songs, most especially)!

p.s. personally I'm convinced that the next CH album is going to blow the doors off everything else on the road!
quote:
Hmm, have you studied all of Judd's work? The large amount of film soundtracks he's written? I'm not his #1 fan, but I think that's a big statement to make.


Ahhh .. yes .. was there at the beginning ..Sitting around the fire watching New Faces TV talent contest,with the songs "129" and "Home Sweet Home"... from "Sweet Talking Spoon Song".. to taking a drunken p!ss on their caravan at Sweetwaters (while they were in it) and am well aware of Phil Judd's extra curricular musical contributions over the years.


quote:
I would love to see an Enz reunion album with Phil leading because I would love to see some of that Finn (could be Tim's or Neil's or both) musicality augmenting the Judd creativity it could be fantastic.


Whatever guise it takes would be fantastic.

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