Y'know songs you hear when you're ten years old and alone can fuck you up for the rest of your life. Take Split Enz's, "I See Red". I first heard that frantic, angry, catchy song coming from a Candle brand A.M. radio on a pair of ivory-coloured, hard-plastic ear-buds in my bedroom one night in 1979 and I've never been quite the same.
"I See Red" sprints from one high-intensity moment to the to the next, with each break, only designed to frazzle your nerves further("My despair is dying, turning into rage day by day"). The ferocity here doesn't originate with the rhythm section - notice Noel Crombie actually reclining - but rather it's Eddie Rayner's carnival keyboards and Tim Finn's 100 decibel anxiety - a cross between Charlie Chaplins's Little Tramp and Michael Palin's Gumby - that drives this wigged-out pop song through the fuckin' roof.
The song itself is from a set of sessions the band recorded in Luton Studios in 1978 while living on London on the dole but flush with a New Zealand arts grant. A few of these twenty-eight songs were used as albums tracks, singles or B-sides but were only released in their entirety as the Rootin Tootin Luton Tapes by Rhino in 2007. While this now out-of-print collection suffers from a hokey title and sub-bootleg artwork, it unmercifully documents the Enz's brilliant transition from a prog-glam band to a herky-jerky power-pop one.
The Luton Tapes link is in the comments.
Update: For those having problems with tracks five try this.
More Split Enz coming on Sunday!
Speaking of comments: C'mon you once liked Split Enz (and/or Crowded House) didn't you?
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