See Ya ‘Round
Distracted with solo success (‘Fraction Too Much Friction’ was a hit) and a relationship with actress Greta Scaatchi, Tim Finn’s contributions to 1983’s Conflicting Emotions were substandard and he left Split Enz. The group soldiered on for one last album as a five piece; Noel Crombie was relegated back to percussion, while future Crowded House member Paul Hester signed up as drummer.
Sibling rivalry was always an important factor in the Finn’s songwriting in Split Enz, while Neil Finn was accustomed to only contributing three or four songs to previous albums. His solution for See Ya ‘Round was to write the first side of the record himself, and for each member to contribute a song to the second side. Essentially See Ya’ Round is willfully second-rate, but it’s not a terrible swan-song.
Finn’s songwriting is workmanlike on the first side; ‘Years Go By’ is musically compelling but uncharacteristically lyrically shallow (“Years go by/Wonder what you did/But in a minute you can change your life/It all depends on your state of mind/One thing to be sure of is we live and die.”). ‘One Mouth is Fed’ also has shallow sentiments, while ‘Voices’ is plain gorgeous. The second side is at least interesting; Rayner’s ‘The Lost Cat’ and Griggs’ ‘Adz’ are solid enough, while the silly vocals on Crombie’s Ninnie Knees Up’ are at least entertaining. ‘This Is Massive’, with Hester on lead vocals, is arguably the most frenetic song Split Enz ever recorded.
See Ya’ Round is clearly one of Split Enz’s weaker albums, but it’s at least fast paced enough to be entertaining.