Split Enz

Conflicting Emotions

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The distraction of a Tim Finn solo project (1983's Escapade) may have robbed Split Enz of the creative momentum produced by Time and Tide; Tim obviously spent much of his energy on that project, leaving him with a minority of songwriting credits for the first time since taking leadership of the band. So, despite a strong batch of songs from Neil -- which includes the achingly beautiful love song "Message to My Girl" and the contemplative "Our Day," which intimates the thoughts of the soon-to-be father -- the album suffers from a general lack of focus. A misguided over-reliance on drum machines and generally heavy-handed production are the real downfall, though, ultimately dating a solid though unexceptional album. The telling title track, as well as the album closer, "Bon Voyage," hint at Tim's imminent departure from the band. [Initial pressings of the album in New Zealand included a bonus 12" of "Kia Kaha" and "Parasite" -- songs unavailable elsewhere for years.]

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