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Dizrythmia – Split Enz

Dizrythmia Split Enz

Dizrythmia

(1977), 7.5/10
Dizrythmia was a transitional album for Split Enz; founding members Phil Judd and Mike Chunn had left the group, leaving only Tim Finn, Noel Crombie, and Eddie Rayner from the lineup that recorded Split Enz. The group recruited an English bass player, Nigel Griggs, to join English drummer Malcolm Green who had recently joined, while 18 year Neil Finn was flown over from New Zealand to replace Phil Judd.

This formed the lineup that would enjoy commercial success with True Colours and Waiata – although saxophonist Rob Gillies would leave before the next album – but Dizrythmia mostly maintains the sound of the Phil Judd era. The opening two songs, ‘Bold as Brass’ and ‘My Mistake’ are concise and accomplished pop songs, and sound more like radio hits than anything the band had released previously, with undeniable instrumental hooks – the solo in ‘My Mistake’ is a stridently whistle-able melody.

Elsewhere the material is more akin to their Judd-era; while Judd doesn’t appear on Dizrythmia, he has the sole writing credit on ‘Sugar and Spice’, and co-writes on ‘Nice To Know’ and ‘Jamboree’. Judd bought an engaging creepiness to Split Enz, and without him they can sound bland; Tim’s lyrics feel hollow on songs like ‘Without A Doubt’, but Dizrythmia is generally strong musically. The multi-part closer ‘Jamboree’ is goofy but entertaining musically, while the ballad ‘Charlie’ became a live favourite.

Dizrythmia doesn’t quite measure up to the band’s earlier work, although it’s a triumph for Tim Finn that he released a solid art-rock album without much input from Judd. But the album’s biggest triumphs were the pop singles, and Split Enz would follow this direction on their next record.

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