True Colours, was the most commercially successful album of New Zealand group Split Enz’s career. In 2020 that very album celebrated its 40th anniversary. The celebrations continue and to commemorate the milestone, the multi-platinum album has been re-imagined and covered by a stellar mix of Australian and New Zealand artists. Even today True Colours is just as relevant now as it ever has been before so it makes perfect sense that these songs are given a 2021 makeover giving rise to True Colours, New Colours – The Songs Of Split Enz.
The highlight by a country mile is Shihad’s version of I Got You which is an absolute ball tearer that rocks harder than the original. Shihad don’t do anything by halves and what they bring to the compilation is energy and intensity raising the bar for the other contributors that follow. With commercial air play of this single hopefully Shihad start getting the attention they deserve. It makes for an interesting listen to hear how different artists put their own spin on some of these songs. I’m sure on fan forums there will be plenty of discussion about Chelsea Jade’s version of Shark Attack and band of the minute Lime Cordiale and their take on Nobody Takes Me Seriously.
Bernard Fanning brings a real sombre feel to I Hope I Never and what is noticeable is the absence of the piano like the original, stripping this one back on the acoustic guitar. The arrangements of the rhythm section seems a bit odd and comes across a bit clunky. One of the surprise packets on this compilation is The Beths version of What’s The Matter With You. Wowsers! They bring their indie-pop charm and sensibilities to this one and it’s hard to not like The Beths. Ladyhawke’s version of I Wouldn’t Dream Of It has been re-purposed bringing the electropop feels and breathing new life in to these gem. Busby Marou work wonders on Missing Person bringing this soulful, tender and tugging of the heart strings vibe.
The lesser lights such as Robinson, DUAL and Pacific Heights hold their ground bringing their own unique swagger and eccentricity to these Split Enz songs which is great. True Colours, New Colours shows how important the music of Splitz Enz is in inspiring so many different artists continuing that legacy that fans keep discovering and connecting with this music.
Album Review By Rob Lyon