'scathing' uk reviews

after tim's comments on the dvd about a uk review of time and tide, i was wondering if there were any uk reviews of split enz albums out there.
Melody maker, NME and sounds seemed capable of missing the point completely about most bands they didn't consider 'cool'.
I thought it would be funny to read how bad these reviews were.
can anyone help?
thanks
frank
Original Post
*bump* Ah, here's a 'pan' from the August 1980 issue of Smash Hits.

quote:
SPLIT ENZ: True Colours (A&M).

A monster hit in their native Australia [sic] after years of work, but it's tempting to assume this has more to do with patriotism than taste. What we have here is a rather slight collection of high tech pop which takes in a wide variety of post-punk styles and does boast the odd appealing melodic flourish. But it does lack substance in the songwriting department and tends to come across as a mite secondhand. (5 out of 10).

David Hepworth
quote:
Originally posted by Flicker:
*bump* Ah, here's a 'pan' from the August 1980 issue of Smash Hits.

quote:
SPLIT ENZ: True Colours (A&M).

A monster hit in their native Australia [sic] after years of work, but it's tempting to assume this has more to do with patriotism than taste. What we have here is a rather slight collection of high tech pop which takes in a wide variety of post-punk styles and does boast the odd appealing melodic flourish. But it does lack substance in the songwriting department and tends to come across as a mite secondhand. (5 out of 10).

David Hepworth


Kind of ironic that, as David Hepworth went on to become a huge Crowded House fan.
Hmm, he was kinder to Waiata ... (Smash Hits, May 1981)

quote:
SPLIT ENZ - Waiata (A&M).

Although I can't get quite as enthusiastic about this bunch of New Zealanders as some of my colleagues — there's something a mite whispy about their sound - this is their most likeable set so far. A strong, consistently appealing collection of very individual tunes that could well insinuate themselves into your heart were the radio to give them half a chance. The only thing they seem to lack is one really distinctive lead instrument for the airy vocals to play off. (7 out of 10).

David Hepworth
quote:
Originally posted by Flicker:
Hmm, he was kinder to Waiata ... (Smash Hits, May 1981)

quote:
SPLIT ENZ - Waiata (A&M).

Although I can't get quite as enthusiastic about this bunch of New Zealanders as some of my colleagues — there's something a mite whispy about their sound - this is their most likeable set so far. A strong, consistently appealing collection of very individual tunes that could well insinuate themselves into your heart were the radio to give them half a chance. The only thing they seem to lack is one really distinctive lead instrument for the airy vocals to play off. (7 out of 10).

David Hepworth


Interesting that the reviewer comments about the radio play being less then satisfactory.
quote:
Originally posted by Synner:
you have to be a student at certain UK universities/institutions or pay the horribly expensive subscription to access the full articles.


Hey, great find - thanks for posting that. Actually their articles aren't just restricted to UK universities - if you look at their "subscribing institutions" page there are a number of libraries and universities around the world through which you can access their web site. I'm currently reading the articles (free!) via my Auckland Public Library account.
The reviews in that Rock Backpages archive are all pretty positive actually. This review does NOT come from that archive:

quote:
Split Enz - Time & Tide

Once exponents of quirky glam rock in the truest art-school tradition, New Zealand group Split Enz changed direction and their last album [Waiata presumably] was a sheer delight of melodies and harmonies in lush romantic moods. This new album, while carefully assembled and polished, lacks the hooks and emotions of its predecessor. I kept on expecting the spark that would set it alive, but it never comes. Sadly bland; can do better.

Maxim Jakubowski, The Rock Album Volume One, London, 1983

Split Enz: I See Red. In the pre-punk seventies, Split Enz were being tipped as the next big thing. I've always remained pretty negative about them - get under the dynamic coiffures and you find little more than an undynamic solid band with an average song or two. Crawling from the wreckage of a deal with Chrysalis, “I See Red” displays that there still isn’t very much to them apart from etc etc.

Robin Smith, Record Mirror, 12 January 1980.

Wow, just wow. Ir's like they are talking about a different band. The note about patriotism is interesting, i think it's wrong, but maybe it is a cultural difference. That the Enz tapped into something specific to NZ and Oz. I continue to feel that Mental Notes is the archetypical NZ album (though recorded in Oz) the dark quirky gothic quality reminds me in tone of the Novels of Ronal Hugh Morrieson, Janet Frame and Vincent Ward's movies Vigil and the Navigator. 

Although with Phil's departure and Neil's arrival they certainly changed yet there seems to be a continuity through their work and it does speak to me as a Kiwi. 

I think what gets me about those reviews is how terse they are, that somehow they only warrant a paragraph, Split Enz albums seemed gigantic to me.

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