The album that introduced most of the world to New Zealand pop band Split Enz, True Colours is getting a new mix and expanded reissue for its 40th anniversary.
The album now features a brand-new mix of the record by Enz keyboardist Eddie Rayner, who’s often overseen the sonic quality of the band’s catalogue. “I have both the original stereo masters from the 1979 mixing sessions, and the versions currently held in repositories such as Spotify…and they are radically different, sonically,” Rayner said in a statement. “The original masters are mixed, but unmastered, and the Spotify versions have been brutally, and probably repeatedly remastered…by whom, when, where and why, nobody will ever know. [Note: Rayner personally remastered the band’s catalogue in 2006.] So for me, remixing to both restore and improve the currently-available mix AND the overall sound, for this 40th anniversary release, was a good idea.”
The CD also includes seven previously unreleased live tracks recorded on various Australian and New Zealand tours – all in the years following the release of True Colours, and none featuring songs from the original album. (They’re mostly album cuts, along with later singles like 1981’s “Hard Act To Follow” and 1984’s “I Walk Away.”) Despite the incongruity, it’s sure to offer fans another taste of the living Enz. Four color vinyl pressings are also available featuring the new mix and various sleeve designs mirroring the album’s original multicolored releases, as is a special picture disc exclusive to Warner Music Australia’s online store.
True Colours was The Enz’s fifth album, issued at the start of 1980. At the time, the group had made significant transformations since their inception in the mid ’70s; what started as a progressive combo with a surreal stage show was eventually honed into a more mainstream (though still quirky) New Wave-adjacent group clad in unique costumes and makeup. By the end of the decade, the lineup had coalesced into something consistent: lead singer/primary songwriter Tim Finn, his little brother Neil on guitar, bassist Nigel Griggs, keyboardist Eddie Rayner, drummer Malcolm Green and percussionist Noel Crombie. 1979’s Frenzy marked another notable shift in sound: the first lead vocals and songwriting credits from Neil.
Neil’s talents fully bloomed on True Colours, recorded in Australia with producer David Tickle. Chief among them was the peppy “I Got You”; the track not only became the group’s first chart-topper in New Zealand and Australia (and pushed the LP to No. 1 as well), but cracked the U.K. and Canadian Top 20 and the middle of Billboard and Cashbox‘s charts in America. Tim’s songcraft was as strong as ever, too, with highlights like the chugging “What’s The Matter With You” and the moving ballad “I Hope I Never.”
Split Enz would keep going strong into the ’80s; Malcolm Green exited the group in 1981 and Tim left the group for a solo career three years later. Neil retained the band for one more album, the underrated See Ya ‘Round, recruited Tim for a farewell tour, then linked up with Green’s replacement Paul Hester and Aussie bassist Nick Seymour to form Crowded House, who notched the U.S. Top 10s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Something So Strong.” The Enz would reunite sporadically in the ’90s and ’00s, utilizing most or all of the lineup that recorded True Colours.
True Colours is available anew from Warner Music Australia on July 31. (Universal Music Group, which controls the woefully incomplete Enz catalogue in America, appears to have no plans to release this stateside.) Amazon links for the color vinyl pressings are below, as are WMA links to the CD and picture disc.
True Colours: 40th Anniversary Edition (Warner Music Australia, 2020)
CD: Warner Music Australia
Green Vinyl in Red Sleeve: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Blue Vinyl in Yellow Sleeve: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Yellow Vinyl in Purple Sleeve: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Orange Vinyl in Blue Sleeve: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Picture Disc: Warner Music Australia
- Shark Attack
- I Got You
- What’s The Matter With You
- Double Happy
- I Wouldn’t Dream Of It
- I Hope I Never
- Nobody Takes Me Seriously
- Missing Person
- Poor Boy
- How Can I Resist Her
- The Choral Sea
- Firedrill (Live from The Capitol Theatre, Sydney, Australia – 7/17/1982)
- Hard Act To Follow (Live from Logan Campbell Centre Auckland, New Zealand – 12/6/1984)
- I Walk Away (Live from Festival Hall Melbourne, Australia – 11/5/1984)
- Log Cabin Fever (Live from The Capitol Theatre, Sydney, Australia – 7/17/1982)
- Lost For Words (Live from The Capitol Theatre, Sydney, Australia – 7/17/1982)
- Ninee Neezup (Live from Festival Hall Melbourne, Australia – 11/5/1984)
- Wail (Live from The Regent Theatre Sydney, Australia – 3/29/1981)
Original mixes of Tracks 1-11 released as Mushroom L37167 (AUS)/A&M SP-4822 (U.S.), 1980