Split Enz

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1972-73)

- Michael Chunn -- bass

- Miles Golding -- violin

- Michael Howard -- flute

- Phil Judd -- vocals, guitar


  line up 2  (1973-74)

NEW - Geoff Chunn -- drums, percussion

- Michael Chunn -- bass

NEW - Rob Gillies -- sax

- Phil Judd -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Wally Wilkinson -- guitar


  line up 3  (1974-75)

- Geoff Chunn -- drums, percussion

- Michael Chunn -- bass

- Rob Gillies -- sax

- Phil Judd -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Eddie Rayner -- keyboards

- Wally Wilkinson -- guitar


  line up 4  (1975-76)

- Michael Chunn -- bass

NEW- Paul Crowther -- drums, percussion (replaced Geoff Chunn)

- Rob Gillies -- sax

- Phil Judd -- vocals, guitar

- Eddie Rayner -- keyboards

- Wally Wilkinson -- guitar


  line up 5  (1977-81)

NEW - Neil Finn -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Tim Finn -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Malcolm Green -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Paul Crowther

- Nigel Griggs -- bass

- Eddie Rayner -- keyboards


  line up 6  (1981-83)

- Neil Finn -- vocals, guitar

- Tim Finn -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Noel Crombia -- drums, percussion

  (replaced  Malcolm Green)

- Nigel Griggs -- bass

- Eddie Rayner -- keyboards


  line up 7  (1983-84)

- Neil Finn -- voclals, guitar

- Tim Finn -- vocals, guitar

- Nigel Griggs -- bass

NEW - Paul Hester -- drums, percussion (replaced Noel Crombie)

- Eddie Rayner -- keyboards





- Crowded House

- The Finn Brothers

- Neil Finn (solo efforts)

- Tim Finn (sole efforts)

- Octopus

- Schnell Fenster




Genre: rock

Rating: 2

Title:  Waiata

Company: A&M

Catalog:  SP 4848

Country/State: Auckland, New Zealand

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 34

Price: $10.00

The band's sixth studio album was originally released in New Zealand under the title "Waiata" (which translated from Maori as "song").   The marketing plan was to re-title the song in ever country with a native word that translated into "song".  In Australia it was released as "Corroborre" (which translated from the Aboriginal tongue as "song").   And that's as far as their marketing plan went.  As their label in the US and much of Europe, A&M's marketing department decided to stick with "Waiata" butt unhappy with the album's original brown color, redid the sleeve in a series of different colors.  As if that made any difference in sales ...


The album seemingly had a difficult fruition.  Having just gone into the studio, musical and personality differences saw drummer Malcolm Green fired.   He was replaced by Noel Crombie  (both given performances credits on the album).  Adding to their problems, the band's relationship with producer David Tickle had turned ugly.  Regardless, against that backdrop they managed to come up with an album that may not have been as immediately likeable as 1980's "True Colours", but was more interesting, simply because it was a bit more challenging.  The Finn Brothers again provided the majority of material, giving listeners an opportunity to mull over their creative similarities and differences.  For the most part, exemplified by tracks like 'One Step Forward' and 'Iris', Neil seemed to have the better ear for outright commercial tunes.  On 'Hard Act To Follow' and 'I Don't Want To Dance' Tim's material tended to the edgier.  There were exception.  Penned by Tim, the ballad 'Ghost Girl' was probably the album's standout performance.   Elsewhere keyboardist Eddie Rayner turned in a paid of largely forgettable instrumentals.  Thanks to various US television appearances )American Bandstand, Solid Gold), and plenty of MTV exposure, the album hit # 46 on the US charts, though neither of the US singles charted.


"Waiata" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hard Act To Follow   (Tim Finn) - 3:17   rating: **** stars

My introduction to Split Enz ...  I can remember being home on a Saturday evening, half working on some school paper with the television on in the background.  If you're a certain age, you may remember a cheesy variety program called "Solid Gold".  Hosted by Dionne Warwick and Chuck Mangione, the show featured a hodgepodge collection of talented and talentless artists.  Anyhow, on this evening one of the acts was Split Enz and the song they were lip syncing to was 'Hard Act T Follow'.  The song was instantly attention grabbing with a weird blend of jerky new wave angst and a refrain that wouldn't leave you alone.   I actually went out and bought the parent album the next week.  Released as a single in Canada and Holland, I've always wondered why A&M didn't bother releasing it in the States.  

- 1981's 'Hard Act To Follow' b/w 'Ghost Girl' (A&M catalog number AM-543)

- 1981's 'Hard Act To Follow' b/w 'Clumsy' (A&M catalog number AMS-9150)

Neither the sound, or video quality are very good, but YouTube has a clip of that 1981 performance: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=split+enz+hard+act+to+follow  

2.) One Step Ahead   (Neil Finn) - 2:52   rating: **** stars

'One Step Ahead' served as a wonderful example highlighting the differences in Tim and Neil's songwriting approaches.  While both had a knack for penning catchy, if slightly quirky material, as exemplified by this slightly ominous ballad, Neil had the edge in the catchy department.   While it looked like they spend about $10 on it, the band also released a promotion video in support of the song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NduGJ0F5sdI 

It was tapped as the album's first single in the US.

- 1980's 'One Step Ahead' b/w 'In the Wars' (A&M catalog number AM 2339)

3.) I Don't Want To Dance    (Tim Finn) - 3:34   rating: ** stars

All out new wave jittery - Tim sounded like he'd been taking amphetamines with the Mael brothers.  = )  Another one that was tapped as a single in Australia, New Zealand and the US.  Interestingly, in the US the song was released as a 12" dance mix.

- 1980's 'I Don't Want To Dance' b/w 'Hard Act To Follow' and 'History Never Repeats' (A&M catalog number SP 17157)  And of course there was a promotional video for the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy4kk1MZKHI 

4.) Iris   (Neil Finn) - 2:50   rating: *** stars


To my ears 'Iris' served as a precursor to Crowded House.  The song offered up another pretty Neil penned ballad that was again far more mainstream and commercial than brother Tim's compositions.  Kind of a cool Andy Summers guitar thang going on there.  As one of the album's most conventional tracks, it was easy to see why A&M released it as an American single:


1981's 'Iris' b/w 'Clumsy' (A&M catalog number 2351-S)





5.) Wail (instrumental) (Eddie Rayner) - 2:45   rating: ** stars

One of two contributions from keyboardist Rayner, the instrumental  'Wail'  sounded like a mash-up from a deranged Atari video game, incidental music from a porn flick, and someone having a carthetic breakdown.   YouTube has a live performance of the song taken from a March 1981 show in Sydney Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-iSNIAPMRI 

6.) Clumsy   (Tim Finn) - 3:29   rating: *** stars

If you've probably already figured it out, but of the Finn brothers, I've always found Neil's material to be more palatable than Tim's.  The frenetic rocker 'Clumsy' served as a good example of why I feel that way.  The song certainly had a nervous energy, but that quirky, herky-jerky feel just left me cold.  You couldn't hum the tune and I sure couldn't dance to it ...


(side 2)

1.) History Never Repeats  (Neil Finn) - 3:00   rating: *** stars

Penned by Neil, 'History Never Repeats' was every bit as quirky as Tim's songs, but to my ears the refrain pushed it over the line into commercial territory.  I'm guessing their record label felt the same way since they tapped the song as another single throughout most of the world.

2.) Walking Through the Ruins  (Tim Finn) - 4:15   rating: ** stars

Another example of the band's quirkier side, 'Walking Through the Ruins' has always reminded me of a New Zealand version of 10cc.  It was melodic, but not in a particularly commercial fashion.  In fact, the song's always left me feeling like they were trying a bit too hard to be clever.  I will admit the song have Tim an opportunity to showcase how strong his voice was.

3.) Ships  (Neil Finn) - 3:01   rating: *** stars

Originall titled 'Up To the Nines", 'Ships' is one of those songs that's grown on me over time.  Another track that hinted at Neil's Crowded House moves, it wasn't overly commercial, but certainly had the elements of a pop song.

4.) Ghost Girl  (Tim Finn) - 4:26   rating; **** stars

LOL - after all that stuff I said about Neil versus Tim's writing styles, along came Tim's dark and slightly ominous ballad 'Ghost Girl'.  Perhaps the album's standout performance, this one had commerciality in spades.   How could A&M not have tapped it as the single ?  YoutTube has an amazing amount of Split Enz live material, including  a 1981 performance of the song from a concert in Sydney, Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWzsMiQx3Dw 

5.) Albert of India (instrumental)   (Eddie Rayner) - 4:03   rating: *** stars

Showcasing Rayner's keyboards, as the title might suggest, 'Albert of India' had an epic feel that would not have sounded out of place on a film soundtrack.  That meant it was pretty, but ultimately kind of forgettable.