Schnell Fenster - The Sound Of TreesThis little-known and distinctly 80’s entity consisted of Split Enz alumni Phil Judd, Noel Crombie, and Nigel Griggs (more or less the half of the band who didn’t go on to become regular members of Crowded House) along with Michael den Elzen, who later played guitar on at least one of ex-Enzer Tim Finn’s solo albums. At the same time that Crowded House was treading softer ground with Temple Of Low Men, these other former Enz members were trying to carve out a somewhat more quirky and dance-oriented niche for themselves, not unlike the territory Tim Finn had explored with his very pop-oriented early solo projects. But where Tim was upbeat, his former Enz cohorts were downright weird at times. Not that this is bad – at various times, Thomas Dolby and Howard Jones were also considered weird. Put simply, Schnell Fenster hauled the new-wave pop style out of the early 80’s, dragging it kicking and screaming (the style, not the band themselves) into the latter half of the decade, which was dominated by mechanical quasi-R&B dance grooves and rap. Sometimes, as with the catchy “Skin The Cat”, there’s even a hint of cool swing to the proceedings, and numerous other numbers play the new-wave game to the hilt, including “Whisper”, “Run-a-Mile” and “Never Stop”. I’ve found that there’s nothing on this album not to like, 3 out of 4but if you have never heard of Schnell Fenster, it’s because this is an example of a band and an album out of time. It could’ve gone over huge only four or five years earlier, but its somewhat dated sound, along with Phil Judd’s penchant for whimsy which characterized his reign in the early days of Split Enz, kept it from gaining anything more than cult recognition among Enz fans.

Order this CD

  1. Whisper (3:45)
  2. Love-Hate Relationship (3:59)
  3. Sleeping Mountain (3:44)
  4. That’s Impossible (3:26)
  5. This Illusion (3:42)
  6. Lamplight (3:35)
  7. The Sound of Trees (4:46)
  8. White Flag (3:36)
  9. Long Way Away (3:20)
  10. Skin the Cat (3:05)
  11. Run-a-Mile (3:02)
  12. Never Stop (4:12)

Released by: Atlantic
Release date: 1988
Total running time: 44:56