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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. iarla

    iarla Forum Resident

    Location:
    Providence, RI
    Not that I'm aware of. I know some folks over at Needle Mythology - 2022 is what I keep seeing/hearing. It's been mastered for two years apparently, just waiting for a slot at a vinyl pressing plant. The vinyl was mastered at Abbey Road by Miles Showell for anyone who's interested.
     
    KangaMom, HitAndRun, Paul H and 2 others like this.
  2. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    Restless Night is a solid album with a few clear standouts. I'm not a huge fan of the late 60's style of music in general (though this certainly has some good styles throughout), but if it's done well I can get on board, and most of the stuff is done pretty well here. If anything, this is a very cool look at Nigel's pre-Enz career.

    The River
    Cool track indeed. Great guitar and vocal effect here. High quality stuff to start the album.

    Summer
    This is fantastic. This is always in the running for my favorite song on the album; it's always between this and a song that's towards the end of the album. Exceptionally cool recurring riff and rhythm. The drumming stands out quite a bit as well. This is a bonafide hit to my ears, though maybe in 1971 it was a little dated? It sounds more to me like 1967 or 1968 (the Beatles-esque "ti-ti-ti's" specifically), but I don't have wide-spanning knowledge of that era of music.

    Council Plans
    This sounds a little more like 1971 to me, but I'm really only comparing it to the album McCartney was doing at the time, Ram, and even George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. All Things in particular to me sounds ahead of its time for 1970, though I only listened to the Beatles & co. material for the first time last year. Anyway, getting back on track, there are some really interesting sounds here for sure, but it sort of fails to capture my full interest at any point. Still a solid track.

    Restless Night
    Super cool track. This is the kind of stuff I like to hear. Great mix of psychedelia & prog-rock with a nicely stylized vocal delivery and top-notch instrumentation. A highlight for sure.

    Thief
    I don't care for this one at all. Completely forgettable and just a weak track.

    Queen and the Pauper
    Another one I don't really like, though it's a little better than the last track. Kind of a neat backing track, but there's not enough here to keep my interest.

    I Say
    This is okay. It's something that sounds extremely of its time, with more Beatles influence going on. I neither love nor hate it overall.

    John's Rock
    As awful a vocalist as John Cook is, this is a fun little romp that I always seem to enjoy listening to.

    Rainchild
    Listening to "Rainchild" now, I would say it's safely my second favorite song on the album. I used to think it was about on par with "Summer", but "Summer" is definitively my favorite after this listen I think. It's certainly still a great song with some great vocals and piano in particular. Nigel wrote some great stuff on this LP!

    Tide
    This seems to be like a mini prog-rock song with some good twists throughout. It starts a little slow, but once the song picks up just after the minute mark, it gets a lot better. The instrumental outro that starts at 3:15 is by far the best part of the song; it's pretty brilliant. There's such a genuine sense of unease going on and it's really affecting. A good track to end the album.


    Overall a good listen with some clear highs and clear lows. Like I said, this is at minimum a very cool insight into Nigel's musical life years before the Enz. He wrote some mostly quality stuff here, and the band sound good, too. I can't rate it very high because of the aforementioned low points and the fact that this isn't my favorite musical era, but I still think it's a good album.

    3.3/5

    Track Picks: "Summer", "Restless Night", "Rainchild".

    Low Points: "Thief", "Queen and the Pauper".
     
  3. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Restless Nights

    I agree that this is a very consistent album without really any standout tracks.

    I'm not going to review the songs one by one. I feel that the songs are all played very well, and the arrangements are good.

    Nigel writes the songs - which I didn't expect. I believe it's also Nigel singing, which makes Octopus far from Paul's band as I thought it would be. I was curious if Paul wrote songs later, but I can't find songwriting credits for Guys 'n' Dolls and their single album on Spotify (that I found) appears to contain many covers.

    Nigel's bass style seems well developed at this point. As mentioned the songs are all played very well and arranged appropriately for the style of music and the era. The production sounds good too.

    The main issue I have with this album is the songwriting. The songs seem to have one idea each, which is typically a good verse. But, then no real chorus or really a bridge follows the chorus. There are some other musical sections in the songs but they often disappoint me. I'm waiting for whatever the song is building to and then it never really comes. Too often the songs seem to return to the verse without having sufficiently gone ... elsewhere.

    Comparing these songs to Adz which (if I remember correctly) is Nigel's only sole songwriting credit for Split Enz, his voice on Adz and isn't as strong as what I hear here and the song isn't as strong as I would expected given that Nigel had already been the key member of Octopus. I wonder what happened. In any case, apart from Sleeper, Nigel seems to have spent the rest of his career after Octopus as a band member rather than a band leader or solo artist. In Khan, Split Enz, Schnell Fenster,

    There's definitely a lot of promise here, but Nigel went in a different direction after this....
     
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  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Yeah, I feel the same way. It's a real mystery. He must not have just had many songs in him and once he joined Split Enz, he didn't really need to write songs to have a career.

    In Split Enz, he did some co-writes on Time And Tide ("Dirty Creature", "Giant Heartbeat", "Lost For Words".) And his experience as a songwriter probably meant he was a help in the arranging.

    I had originally thought he was credited for the bassline on those songs and that the songs came out of jams (as I know that many Split Enz songs did come from jams) but then I found out he actually wrote the "I don't wanna sail" chorus on "Dirty Creature" and so I assume he wrote bits of the others as well (maybe the choruses or the verses of the other songs.)

    I actually like "Adz" more than most of the songs on Restless Night, but I know what you mean: it seems much less commercially structured than his songs from the seventies.

    Note: he does have one other sole credit for Split Enz: "Livin' It Up", from the Rootin' Tootin' Luton Tapes era, originally released on the international Frenzy in 1981.
     
  5. Ah, "Livin' It Up" -- between that, "Adz," and his stuff with Octopus (never mind his post-Enz stuff too), that guy was really all over the place... It is kind of interesting that he never went back to being a frontman - maybe his interests were so broad there was no way to focus on leading any one thing!
     
  6. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    I'm sorry I'm so late to the party! But I just finished watching 'True Colours Live" and it was magnificent. Just chock full of energy and Tim's charisma really leaps off the screen. It's interesting to see how much of a unit the band really is - all those layers and textures from the recorded versions are somehow made even better live. In fact, there seems to be a bit more swing/funk in the live versions which is all the better.

    The Enz were very much Tim's band and that can be amply seen in this concert, but that's not to say that the rest of the band are just pieces. Somehow the Enz are greater than the sum of their parts with every member of the band really enhancing the live feeling of all these songs.

    As usual, Hermit McDermitt is splendidly deranged...god, what a great song live! But actually uniformly the whole concert is great and Tim's vocals are out of the world. Particularly on Charlie and I Hope I Never. The rage contained in I See Red was great - just so over the top and yet, just right. I must say that "Double Happy" was a pretty unusual way to start the concert but it really was perfect, and although it's already a favorite track of mine, it's actually even better live. I wish I'd seen that in person.

    It was great to see this concert and definitely reminded me a lot of when I saw them on the Enz with a Bang tour (also in Melbourne). You can see even in 1980 how well honed their live act was and just how much energy they brought to the stage. If I was scoring this concert it would get a big ol' 5/5 from me. It's fantastic.
     
  7. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Restless Night - Octopus
    I had no expectations going in to this listen for what it might sound like. So I guess, overall I can say that I'm mostly surprised at how much I enjoyed it - as in, I find it to be a perfectly acceptable listen. And it does give some insight into Nigel (pre-Enz). I've always wondered why he hasn't done more to be honest, because I've always really valued his contributions to the Enz work (for instance on Time and Tide) and he clearly has the ability to write pretty good songs (there's no point in measuring him by the Finn yardstick as that's basically a huge ask).

    The River
    A strong opening song. I really like the groove of this song. There's a really good recurring riff and if this is Nigel's vocal then I like it a lot. It's certainly the most immediate song on this album. Possibly the best song on the album.

    Summer
    This is a nice bright romp. Kind of beatlesque - which is not a bad thing. I like that bass bounce in this song.

    Council Plans
    Even more Beatlesque music. But I like this song a lot, the verses are really excellent. There's a nice little story unfolding in this song and it's a very pleasant melody. Maybe not groundbreaking but it's quite very good. Maybe competes with being a favorite alongside The River.

    Restless Night
    This is a different style variation on the album and it's good to have the variation at this point. I like the heavier style intro and the overall heavier sound of this song (I guess pinned by the bass really) but the organ is a really nice counterpoint and I think the vocal works well. I don't know that the chorus is as strong as it could be, but it's a pretty darn good song.

    Thief
    Another style variation. This sounds slightly familiar to me - which I can't pinpoint at all since I'm not at all knowledgeable about early 70s music. I like the percussive drive of this song. In fact, within the flow of the album I think this works quite well. I probably wouldn't listen to it as a standalone song, but context is everything.

    Queen and Pauper
    This reminds me a little bit of late 60s style more than anything. Actually now that I'm on my second pass through on the album, this is kind of worming its way into my brain. It is quite catchy...

    I Say
    This is another song, that I think is working it's way into my brain pan. It's quite a sweet sounding song.

    John's Rock
    Well, I have to agree that I don't care for the vocal but oddly if I substitute a Tim Finn Dizrythmia era vocal into this song I would like this song a lot. Like this is actually a song that the Enz could have done well. It would be a lot less bluesy but it would definitely be a good song for them. I like this song - wish the vocal was different - but I like the song itself.

    Rainchild
    I like this song a lot. There's something about it that just hits the spot for me. There's a nice shift in style between the chorus and verse which may be the source of why I like it. Maybe it's fairly representative of it's era but that's not a bad thing.

    Tide
    This is a nice little closer for the album. I guess this would be kind of prog-style. Very nice. I do like the extended outro of this song. This pretty much means that this album starts and ends strong!
    (EDIT: This is the song where I can most hear the style of bass playing that I think Nigel used a lot on the Enz recordings. He really was an underrated bass player. That was brought home by watching that True Colours concert!)

    So, overall I would say that while none of the tracks is a standout (except maybe The River) it is a pretty high quality album. I'm actually contemplating buying a copy of it on CD... so I figure it's pretty good given that I've only done a couple of listens.

    4/5 (scoring on the non-Finn scale).
     
  8. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    @Lance LaSalle I was just thinking, Space Waltz is missing from the list of albums we're going to cover. I'm not sure if you just forgot it or it doesn't fit the criteria, but that's quite a good LP!
     
  9. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Just to comment on the arty self-conscious personas on display in the concert. I think it helps to see as part of the evolution. If you think back to their early 70s concerts in NZ where their shows were full on performance art (including tap dancers!) with a full visual approach. They already had personas on stage, I mean in the early days Tim had to carry most of that load despite the fact that I remember reading that he was quite shy of performing. So you do tend to develop a role (Enz frontman). If you think back to just 3 years previous they were still performing in costumes (Dizrhythmia era) and so it's not surprising that they didn't really let that go (even the 2006 concerts maintain a level of theatricality but by that time Tim and Neil had been performing for about 30 years).

    I also think the mannered personas probably were not helped by the concert being filmed in such an artificial environment. Nothing wrong with the band performance but they didn't get much audience feedback until close to the end.

    I personally think the Finn awkwardness on-stage and in their music videos is one of their most endearing traits!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
  10. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    coming Wed Jan 12 at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central to your local PBS station:
    Nature “Octopus: Making Contact”
    Follow an Alaskan professor as he raises and studies a pet octopus in his home, making remarkable discoveries about its extraordinary intelligence, personality and skills. Octopuses are able to recognize faces and interact with other individuals.”


    … oops … sorry, wrong Octopus

    Since getting "Restless Nights" several months ago, I’ve enjoyed it for what it is, a post-Beatles slightly prog album. Sometimes the sound hearkens back to ca 1968 psych Iveys/Badfinger (high praise), sometimes it sounds like early 70s pop balladry, mostly on the songs sung (very well) by John Cook. A better producer might have done wonders with this band. The vocals and arrangements sound good to me. Nigel’s bass lines are excellent as always, and Mal’s drumming is also quite good, if slightly clichéd at times. (Anybody notice the drum patterns he would recycle later in his Split Enz years? (especially on "The Queen and The Pauper")

    I’m not going to rate songs individually (work continues to keep me busy ca 10-13 hours every day), but the more I listen to the album, the more I like it. I have to be in the mood for it, but this is very good. Besides, @KangaMom , @HitAndRun and @drewrclv9 have already hit all the points I would have hit.

    With different management and a different name, and definitely a different album cover the band could have done very well. Of course, then Nigel and Mal might not have joined Split Enz, and history for the Finns, Eddie and Noel would have been very different. I’m glad for what we got.

    4/5 (on that non-Finn rating scale)
     
  11. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    I have to say that I love the album cover. It's so obviously of that era...would have made a great B-grade movie poster (Octopus Women on the Moon)
     
  12. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Tricky. Eddie was on the Space Waltz album, but I believe he didn't write anything or sing. It's less of a Split Enz contribution than for Octopus. I'd be happy either way but would contribute if it is covered.
     
  13. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I wasn't planning to do it:

    I am aware of Space Waltz...and I think sombody over on those Facebook groups sent me a copy of a needle drop once out of nowhere... and it's probably on my hard drive.... but I am not planning to include it. If you want to write about it, that's fine, really.

    There are numerous projects that these guys played or sang on over the years, but I'm kind of just focusing on the main stuff that was led by the individual members.
     
  14. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    If we have one week per album, then maybe one day a week could be said to be an 'anything goes' day for discussing things not in the plan. 'Miscellany Monday' or similar.
     
  15. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    Ok no problem, I'll just briefly touch on a few extra albums when we get to the appropriate era. There are a few (like Space Waltz, Ultrasound, Tarmac Adam's first LP, Sophie Koh's All the Pretty Boys) that have some stuff I really like on them, so I'll tack a paragraph onto other posts or make a quick post about them when we are close to the year they released.

    I'll go ahead and do Space Waltz now though, since we're pretty much at that point. I find it to be one of the best Enz-related albums out there, honestly. "Fraulein Love", "Open Up", "And Up to Now" (Eddie's keyboard/piano playing on this one is incredible), and "Scars of Love" are top tier power pop/glam rock tracks, but especially those first three. They're really fantastic. Even the rest of the album is mostly top quality. "Out on the Street" (which I always almost type "Out in the Street", the Springsteen song) is the big hit I guess, and I think it's very good, but I'd peg near the middle of the pack in terms of how much I personally like it.

    "Love the Way He Smiles", "Angel" and "Beautiful Boy" are also really good ones. I'd say "Seabird" is my least favorite track, but even that is pretty good. Overall a wonderful album featuring one half of Citizen Band (Greg Clark/Brent Eccles), Eddie, and Alastair Riddel, a really stylistic and great vocalist. I'd give it a 4.5/5 overall, with those three tracks I listed at the beginning being the track picks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2022
  16. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallentuna, Sweden
    Thank you for this review! I am curious about the Space Waltz album but have only heard "Out on the Street" which is very good. I'll have to check out the album now after having read your review of it!

    I have Alastair Riddell's debut solo album from 1978. I found a copy in a bargain bin in a record store in Stockholm many years ago and bought it out of curiosity as I had read that he had been Split Enz's first choice of replacement for Phil Judd, though he ultimately turned them down. On this solo album, Eddie, Mike Chunn and Paul Crowther all appear as musicians (though not on all tracks). It's a really good album. Interestingly, the copy I bought cost me 10 SEK (which roughly translates as about one U.S. dollar) and I see the prices for this LP on Discogs are quite a bit higher...
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
  17. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Here is the Spotify link for Space Waltz: Space Waltz

    I bought Alastair Riddell's first solo album when it came out, as a young person (I will say in self defence). As far as I know it was never released on CD. It's available on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lWNEfKcYyEgHUaGD-Yx-hEBfRI22fDOXA

    Personally, I prefer this album to Space Waltz. Perhaps because I knew it better when young. There were a number of music videos, as I remember seeing them on Radio With Pictures. If anyone wants to save on time, I would recommend listening to 'Wonder Ones' and 'What Good Does It Do Me' first. Others may recommend differently. My personal favourite is actually 'Smile', but I'm not sure it's the best song to introduce AR as an artist.

    Alastair released a song, Last of the Golden Weather, recently on YouTube, that I had never heard before. It's nice. Says he pretending that he knew about this song this morning. Alistair has done a lot over time, but I thoroughly lost track of him after the above mentioned album.



    When I was young a friend of mine and I spotted Alistair Riddell in downtown Auckland. In a Rutles like moment, we recognised the trousers first. They were at least similar to the ones on the album cover.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
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  18. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    Just for fun, I tried going to the Space Waltz myspace page when it came up in a google search, and nothing would play. I never used myspace when it was in its brief heyday, I suspect this is what the experience was like at the time anyway. Space Waltz | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos (With the sh**show that facebook has become, maybe myspace will make a comeback. Or maybe people will ruin any social media sites.)

    In the meantime, listening to Space Waltz on YouTube is what we do in 2022, and in brief, it's good, but to my ears a bit derivative. I hear lots of Bowie and early Genesis, and Riddell does a good job. I also hear that the Space Waltz album must have been an influence on early Split Enz, since the album predates those first few albums. I mean that as a compliment to Riddell, not as a knock on the early line-up of Split Enz. (Is it possible that Riddell saw an early performance by Split Enz and "borrowed" from them? Maybe it was the 1975 New Zealand zeitgeist.) All in all, a nice album to listen to, if you like that genre. I'm in the mood for this sort of thing infrequently, but this would really hit the spot when I am. 3.8/5

    It sells for silly prices on the various amazons, $582 on amazon.ca, you have to hurry, though. There are only five copies left in stock. :yikes:
     
  19. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Or maybe it's just that Eddie Rayner played in both.
     
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  20. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    It was the vocals and the shifting rhythms that caught my ear first, but Eddie was the arranger on Space Waltz, so that's got to be it. It's evidence that Eddie had a bigger hand in the Split Enz sound than people realize (certainly more than I perceived.)
     
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Now you are making me more curious to hear it...

    I think that The Split Enz practice of awarding songwriting credits was quite stingy and I really believe that Eddie (and the others) would have had co-writing credits in many songs in other bands. Not necessarily equal percentages, and not all songs of course: some are clearly written by one person. But whenever they talk about songs coming out of jams I always think then why is there only one writer credited? I mean, if Tim Finn gets a co-writing credit for the drum beat of "Suffer Never" which helped Neil write his melody, why doesn't Eddie get a co-writing credit for the middle 8 of "I Got You", which was a years old composition? Have you ever heard a performance of that without that? (Unless Neil wrote that too years before and Eddie just suggested it.)

    I realize there is a fine line between arranging and writing, but to me if a song came from a jam all the participants should be credited even if ultimately the words and music was written by one person.

    But that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
  22. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    On the songwriting credit side...I wonder what the actually royalty split actually was.

    For instance, various bands do a setup where 50% to the songwriter(s) the remaining 50% divided up between the other members of the band and the manager. That way, everyone is invested in the success of the song. Sure the songwriter gets more share, but it's not like the other members of the band aren't getting anything.

    I'm sure others, such as @StefanWq, could speak more to this point.
     
  23. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallentuna, Sweden
    I worked at a music copyright company (which was a joint venture by the Swedish and the UK collecting societies, with customers being several other European collecting societies) so I got some insider information regarding songwriting credits and royalty shares.
    When a song is first registered, with writer credits and royalty splits (a song co-written by two persons may not necessarily be a 50/50 split; "Four Seasons In One Day", credited to both Neil and Tim, is mainly Neil's song and he gets the lion share of the royalties for that one), there is a 6 year period for any co-writers to submit claims, if they feel that a) the song wasn't written by one person only, b) yes, they are credited as co-writers but their royalty share is too small. So, for instance, if a Split Enz song was registered and credited to only, say, Tim and Eddie, for instance, felt that he should be credited too, he could submit his claim and demand his share. As long as he does this within 6 years of the song being registered, it will be looked at. I would set up counterclaim disputes on a daily basis, so it's nothing strange about that. The publishers involved be contacted about the new claim and often it will quickly be resolved, with the new claimant getting his co-writing credit and his royalty share and everyone is happy.
    I did see some Enz tracks in this database, credited to Tim only or Neil only or Phil only - so presumably all involved are OK with these songs being credited to only one person. As you say, Lance, there is a fine line between writing and arranging.

    Some bands (such as U2 and Hunters & Collectors, among many others) credited all members right from the start for all songs, regardless of whether a song was written by one member only or was a genuine co-write. I believe Madonna has a deal that gives her co-writing credit and royalty shares for each song she records, even though there are many songs recorded by her for which he has written absolutely nothing (but of course a lot of songwriters would be very happy to have a song recorded by Madonna and featured on a multi-million selling album even if they only get a 96% share for a song they wrote entirely on their own).

    It can be a touchy issue - I have had contact with the lead guitarist of a very successful group (not one related to this forum thread) who felt very bitter about not being credited as co-writer even though he wrote all the guitar solos ("the credited writer couldn't even play that solo") and it's a fair point. However, more than 6 years have passed since those songs were registered so you'd have to ask why he didn't do anything about it as soon as he realised he wasn't being credited. But a lot of bands have had conflicts about writing credits and royalty shares.

    Songwriting credits can of course change even after 6 years - as long as the originally credited writer(s) agree with the change. The best advice to any band is, obviously, to have written agreements about these issues before they register the songs, when they all get along, rather than having problems with it later.

    Sampling from other people's works is another issue completely and a real minefield.

    One thing that is not related to Split Enz or Crowded House, but a very common misconception I've come across repeatedly over the years, is that a song becomes public domain as soon as the writer dies. This is not correct - copyright protects a song for 70 years after each writer has died. So, for instance, a song credited to John Lennon only will become public domain in the year 2050. Until then, royalties will be paid to his estate. A Beatles song credited to both Lennon and McCartney will not become public domain in our lifetime as Paul McCartney is thankfully still alive and well. Even though it is no secret that they mainly wrote separately, it does mean that John Lennon's estate will get royalties for "Yesterday" for at least another 70 years and that Paul McCartney (and later, his estate) will get royalties for "I Am The Walrus" for at least another 70 years.
     
  24. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallentuna, Sweden
    Octopus - Restless Night

    I recall the fan club having a feature about Octopus in one of the newsletters, circa 1997. This was the first time I had heard of them and it was intriguing to learn of a pre-Enz band featuring Nigel Griggs as singer, main songwriter and bassist and Malcolm Green as drummer. I got curious and bought a copy of the See For Miles 12-track edition CD of the album (Octopus – Restless Night... Plus (1991, CD) - Discogs). The cover artwork is... well, it looks like a cartoon version of a B grade sci-fi novel from the late '60s or something (apparently, according to liner notes, it was the manager's idea and the band only found out when it was too late to change it). Thankfully, the music on the album is excellent for most parts. Nigel wrote great songs and his singing give them a lot of character as well. I really like the sound of the album - rock with a blend of psychedelia and a bit of prog. Very catchy and immediate songs - "Summer" ought to have been a major hit and there are several others which are top notch, in my opinion - "Restless Night", "Queen and the Pauper" (which to my ears has a Dizrythmia-ish sound or at least I can easily imagine how it would sound with Tim on lead vocals and backed by the Dizrythmia line-up), "I Say" and "Rainchild". The opening track "The River" is very good too (it was a top 10 hit in Italy in 1971 apparently). Octopus sounds like a tight-knit unit (even though there were a few line-up changes even during the recording of the album). I think John Cook's organ playing adds a lot of colour to the sound, though I am less impressed with his singing which clashes, rather than complements, Nigel's. It's also great to hear Nigel and Malcolm (who was 17 years old when he joined Octopus) clicking as a rhythm section immediately.
    In a way it surprises that Octopus weren't more successful. Reading the liner notes, it talks about the record company not having good distribution, but I also think this very 1967/1968 sounding album may have sounded quite dated to listeners when it was released in 1971. Still, the original edition of the LP is now a real collector's item (the one copy offered on Discogs has a hefty $1,600 price tag).
    I've quite recently bought a second copy of the album, the UK Rev-Ola edition from 2006 (Octopus – Restless Night - The Complete Pop-Psych Sessions 1967-71 (2006, CD) - Discogs) which is the ultimate edition of the album with 22 tracks and even better liner notes than the previous edition.
    It was the Enz connection that made me buy the album initially but the reason I keep returning to it is that is a truly superb record.
    4,5/5
     
  25. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallentuna, Sweden
    While we are still on the topic of Octopus, and for those who may want to learn more about them, I highly recommend visiting Paul Griggs' web page: PAUL GRIGGS

    (By the way, it seems appropriate that we are finishing the discussion about Octopus on January 8 - they played their very last gig on January 8, 1972)

    I've also visisted his YouTube channel, which apart from Octopus stuff and lots of Beatles covers performed by Paul also has some Split Enz clips. His YouTube channel is here: Paul Griggs - YouTube

    He has also written a book called Diary of a musician about his life in music. I haven't got that book though I would like to read it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022

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