Stranger than Fiction, Larger Than Life: the Finn Brothers song-by-song discussion thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Mr.La Page

    Mr.La Page Smoking with the boys upstairs...

    The Custerdome
    Just got into Split Enz about a year ago. I wish i had been listening to them way earlier. The song and promo video for Sweet Dreams is probably my favorite video of a band at this point. I've watched it 70 plus times within a month. Also, the tune Under the Wheel is spectacular.

    EDIT: I do know that Sweet Dreams is a Phil Judd piece but i just really dig these guys. Under the Wheel is at least a partial Finn writing credit. :)
    mikedifr0923 and Lance LaSalle like this.
  2. Well, yes, but she had nothing to do with the song. She didn't even write it. Coincidence.
    AFOS likes this.
  3. I'd give it a 5. You can dance to it. ;)

    Seriously, though, they were still learning their songcraft. It's probably their most quirky album and the one I listen to the least.
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Probably is their quirkiest, and that is really saying something. But I am a fan of quirky musicians and songs. I think if they were not quirky, I wouldn't like them as much. I can listen to Squeeze (say) when I'm in that kind of mood!
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  5. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    We'll be talking about Phil Judd songs too, including "Sweet Dreams", which is gorgeous; because Tim still sings on it (even if he doesnt sing lead) and was involved with it.

    I just won't get into non-Finn projects involving Judd on this thread (The Swingers, or his solo albums or Schnell Finster.)

    Phil Judd is, to my ear, one of the most absolutely unique musicians of the rock era and deserves at least a tad more recognition. But then so do the Finns.
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  6. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident

    The Swingers were an excellent band and "Counting The Beat" one of the coolest singles of the 80's
  7. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    Looking forward to this thread. I'm a huge Crowded House fan but haven't delved too deeply into the Split Enz stuff aside from hits comps.
  8. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    "One Two Nine" is melodic and hooky and, to me, should have been a single A-side, rather than the B-side (of "The Sweet Talkin' Spoon Song"). Definitely one of my favorite early Enz songs. They had clearly moved beyond the folky pop sound of their debut 45 in just a few months' time. I'll give this one a 3.5.
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  9. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Oops, correction:

    Geoff Chunn on drums. Geoff Chunn would later form his first band, After Hours, with Neil Finn and others. One of their songs "The Ladder" from the post-Neil era made its way onto Other Enz, the nineties compilation of various Enz spin off projects.

    Does anybody know if After Hours did any albums? If so are they in print and worth hunting down?
  10. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Forum Resident

    I was wrong about this opening being on "Split Ends". It was on the "One Two Nine" single.
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  11. redfloatboat

    redfloatboat Forum Resident

    I was living in Christchurch when they appeared on the New Faces tv series. [Actually Shona Laing[nz superstar] also appeared on New Faces and became runner-up.]

    This has vision of them on the show.
  12. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Forum Resident

    After Hours didn't release any music commercially but they did record demos and there's a recording of their last live show. You can hear excerpts in the last few minutes of Enzology Ep III.
    Neil's song "Platform Three" from their live show can be heard in full on's The Kitchen Sink Volume 2.
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  13. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Thanks! Pre-make up Enz, never saw any clips before.

    Since I can't edit my post, I just want to add that the outro of the song -- the fade into guitar harmonics and percussion and the final cascade of strings is one of my favorite moments in their entire repertoir.

    Perhaps they were still learning their craft in 1973 but I really think they came out of the post galloping like mad, artistically.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  14. 129 - quirky and what not, but catchy. Firmly in the "good song" territory, though I'm scared to score anything because the deeper we get into the catalog, the more I'll have "well, if I gave this one an X than I *have* to give this one at least a Y" types of analysis paralysis...

    I realize I'm getting ahead of things here, but do you plan to do the re-recordings of songs as part of this, or just one pass at any given tune? The one that really has me thinking about that is "Titus..."
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  15. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Yes, I’ll do the re-recordings on Second Thoughts, as well as officially released, non-fan club live versions.

    I think going for consistency in the rating would indeed be maddening. I think rating is fun but the discussion and exchange of opinions and facts from the more knowledgeable is what we’re really after, in the end.
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  16. In that case I'll give 129 a 4 - even though there will probably also be 4s that I like more and less. :)
  17. Mr.La Page

    Mr.La Page Smoking with the boys upstairs...

    The Custerdome
    Completely agree. When i first took the time to listen to them, i was blown away by the songwriting and musicianship. Can't wait! I'll be checking up on the thread!
    D.B. and Lance LaSalle like this.
  18. planetexpress

    planetexpress Hypnotist Collector

    I really like this one. Had to replay the "Second Thoughts" version and have to say this one just works better. Definitely not just a throwaway b-side; (probably why they re-recorded it :)).... 4.129
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  19. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Forum Resident

    How many bands have their first three singles released on different labels? “For You” was on Vertigo, “One Two Nine” (as it was written on the label) was on EMI and “No Bother To Me” was on their manager’s label, White Cloud.

    Stealing something I wrote for RNZ years ago, because it’s too early on a Saturday morning for me to bother rewriting:

    Wally Wilkinson recorded the guitar harmonics at the end of '129', though he admits it wasn’t as easy to play as he’d hoped. His style of sonic flavouring, rather than hard rock guitar, began with this track. Rob Gillies played sax on the record but wasn’t an official member yet.
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  20. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    Do you know if "One Two Nine" was the intended A-side? All of the online discographies list "Sweet Talkin' Spoon Song" as the A-side, with "One Two Nine" on the B-side. As I said earlier, however, "129" certainly seems like a more likely "hit" to my ears, although I admittedly have no idea what was more likely to be played on Kiwi radio back in 1973.
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  21. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Forum Resident

    “One Two Nine” was recorded for the heat of TV’s New Faces. When they won their heat and were scheduled to return for the final, they recorded “Sweet Talking Spoon Song”. Then they were released on record.

    I guess the latter song was chosen as the A-side because it was the most recent song broadcast on TV. But there’s no doubt the B-Side is better.

    The TV performance only exists in those segments posted earlier due to a cine club friend of Tim Finn’s father. Dick Finn’s fellow film enthusiast pointed his silent 8mm camera at the TV screen, capturing the parts Tim sang in, turning off the camera during the instrumental breaks to conserve the film.

    When I came to sync up the silent film with the music for that mini-feature in 2012, I had to continually adjust the speed because the camera slowed down as it neared the end of the reel!
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  22. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    Were they lip-synching/miming to the studio track on that show? If not, I'm assuming that the live recording is long-lost and you synced the surviving film to the studio recordings?
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  23. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Forum Resident

    They mimed to the studio recordings. The same recordings were then issued on record. I synced to the CD.
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  24. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Home Sweet Home."

    "Home Sweet Home" was Split Ends' second single, the A-side. We've already discussed the B-Side, "129."

    The above Youtube clip is from a single mix culled from . The Beginning of the Enz mix differs slightly, with some bits of the arrangments emphasized more than other. I think I prefer the Beginning of the Enz mix, as it's clearer overall clearer and it has a very cool bagpipe solo at the end, but as this one has been posted by Phil Judd himself, it seems, it is the only one available.
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  25. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    A lot of folks seem to prefer "129" to "Home Sweet Home" but I don't really have a preference. "Home Sweet Home" is quirkier to be sure and somehow less "smooth", but it's also more colorful and varied: harpsichord opening, the unusual approach to percussion, the spoken word middle eight with backing arrangements playing "Oh Danny Boy" and the aforementioned bagpipe solo.

    I suppose I think that it's more immediately arresting than "129", if only because "129's" melody is complex enough that it takes more time to get a handle on.

    I'm a bit unsure about the lyrics' meaning -- unlike the relatively straightforward "129", we here return to the oblique, slightly abstract lyric-writing style that characterized both sides of the first single. My own take is that they are autobiographical in nature and concern a nervous, troubled young man ("that young lad Martin from the local Kindergarten")who briefly reminisces about a childhood experience dancing with complete abandan in Scottish kilt before an audience of amused onlookers.

    Perhaps the song is related to Phil Judd's famous stage-fright? If so than it is kind of good thematic fit with "129" which contains a depicts the mixed excitement and stage-fright that most performers feel.

    Whatever, it seems to be a loving and sunny portrait of "Martin", and I love it to Bits. I'll say it again: I really think Split Enz (Ends, at this point) were great from the get-go and the fact that they developed their sound from this early psychedelic folk/art pop into full-blown prog and then into New Wave pop/rock band and managed to stay good is testement to the wealth of talent that the band possessed.

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