28 Nov 2022
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Album Review: Various Artists - True Colours New Colours

03 Apr 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Unless you live in NZ it is probably unlikely you will realise just what an important band Split Enz was/is to the local scene. Sure, they had some international hits and I remember hearing I Got You back in the UK when it was released as a single, but in NZ/Aus they were/are royalty and True Colours has rightly taken its place as one of the most important albums ever released in Aotearoa. They had 10 albums (including seven studio albums) reach the top 10 of the Official New Zealand Music Chart and between 1980 and 1982, they had four number-one albums in New Zealand and three in Australia. True Colours included the Neil Finn-written breakthrough single I Got You which reached the top of the charts on both sides of the ditch, while the album also hit #1 in both countries, #10 in Canada, and inside the Top 40 in both the UK and USA.

Although the Aussies have always seen fit to lay claim to various NZ bands which have travelled to Australia (such as Crowded House, Dragon), Split Enz have always been very much Kiwi icons, but close to Australian hearts (they had more entries than anyone else in the 2001 APRA Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time with eight, and that doesn’t include the six for Crowded House), and this 2021 celebratory re-recording features artists from both NZ and Australia. The concept was simple, re-record the whole album, with each performer given just one song, and being allowed to make it their own, but does it work?

Firstly, this is a collection of great songs, and with everyone ensuring the song is at least recognisable then it is hard for it to be anything but fun, but is it essential? Take for example Australian duo Lime Cordiale and their version of Nobody Takes Me Seriously: it is a decent cover but while not detracting anything it doesn’t add anything either. However, Busby Marou have taken Missing Person and turned it into something special, poignant, and heartfelt. Stan Walker is one of the highlights, taking Poor Boy and changing it into a modern dance classic with wonderful vocals. This could easily have been taken as a single as it has his class all over it as he makes it one of his own.

But when it comes to the classic from the album, there really was only band who could be chosen to undertake the iconic I Got You, and that was the mighty Shihad. They are restrained in the verse, but the chorus just goes off, and I only hope they perform this whenever they manage to tour (it’s been cancelled twice now due to COVID). This was always a song which threatened to be a belter, so Jon has just upped the ante and done just that, and if ever a song is designed to get everyone bouncing up and down in the mosh and singing at the top of their voices, it is this one. A special mention must also be made of the punkish up-tempo approach of The Beths on What’s The Matter With You which is just plain over the top fun.

This is available as both an album on its own or a deluxe issue which also contains the original album as well. Overall, I still prefer the original, but there are some fine covers on here.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

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