Split Enz – Second Thoughts

Split Enz - Second ThoughtsThe band’s second album curiously rehashed several songs from their first, but beefed up and fine-tuned the group’s sound considerably and, including some new gems (many of them actually new recordings of the Enz’s earliest singles and live favorites), created a vastly superior album. The vocals are more straightforward than the old-man-telling-a-story approach used by Phil Judd on Mental Notes, and the entire group is in fine form, consistently cohesive for what would be the last time in 4 out of 4several years. My only gripe – they should’ve rerecorded the catchy “Maybe” from the first album and scrapped “The Woman Who Loves You”. That would have made this quite possibly the most perfect album ever to emerge from the south Pacific, beating anything Men at Work or INXS could ever have dreamed of concocting…still, as it is, it’s on my DNP Album List!

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  1. Late Last Night (4:04)
  2. Walking Down a Road (5:28)
  3. Titus (3:16)
  4. Lovey Dovey (3:09)
  5. Sweet Dreams (5:08)
  6. Stranger Than Fiction (7:06)
  7. Time for a Change (4:07)
  8. Matinee Idyll (129) (2:57)
  9. The Woman Who Loves You (6:56)

Released by: Mushroom
Release date: 1976
Total running time: 42:11

Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery & Imagination

Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery & Imagination: Edgar Allan PoeThis album kicks off a string of brilliantly executed studio concoctions attributed to a “band” of session musicians that have secured a place in my heart as one of my three favorite rock acts of all time. This first effort – which was originally intended to be the only one of its kind and, as such, was originally pressed on vinyl under the title of The Alan Parsons Project referring to the album and not the group performing it – sets the style for the remainder of the 1970s for the Project. A group of songs inspired by sundry poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe ranges from chilling (“The Tell Tale Heart”, though a lot of the credit for the spinal shivers still belongs to the source material) to ethereally gorgeous (“To One In Paradise”, the last track). In between there lies mystery (“A Dream Within a Dream”, an instrumental which perfectly balances rock and classical elements, a Parsons4 out of 4 trademark in later years) and a huge, entirely instrumental orchestral suite depicting The Fall of the House of Usher, among other points of interest. The CD liner notes booklet is lavish and incredibly informative, and there’s an added treat in the form of two narrations recorded for the album by Orson Welles but omitted from the original LP release. Very uneven but highly recommended.

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  1. A Dream Within A Dream (4:13)
  2. The Raven (3:57)
  3. The Tell-Tale Heart (4:38)
  4. The Cask of Amontillado (4:33)
  5. (The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether (4:20)

    The Fall of the House of Usher:

  6. Prelude (7:02)
  7. Arrival (2:39)
  8. Intermezzo (1:00)
  9. Pavane (4:36)
  10. Fall (0:51)
  11. To One In Paradise (4:46)

Released by: Mercury
Release date: 1976
Total running time: 42:35