At the time of this album's release - the mid-1970s - Split Enz made a few waves here in the UK. Part of their appeal was their novelty value - how many other rock combos from New Zealand could you name (at the time)? Plus, they looked positively weird - angular haircuts, white face make-up - and the music was equally striking. Critical opinion was most definitely divided - some writers loved 'em; others thought they were a kind of bad photocopy of Genesis. True, their music owed something to the by-then thoroughly discredited 'Prog Rock' genre - but Tim Finn and co could craft a melody, and the songs - occasionally oblique lyrically, with all sorts of strange time signatures and the odd (mostly very odd) referencing to music hall - there's even a solo played on spoons in one song - were original and intriguing. It's worn very well indeed, with songs like the tour-de-force 'Stranger Than Fiction', with its overtones of mental instability and alienation, and the magnificent 'The Woman Who Loves You' being stand out tracks, unlike anything else knocking about at the time. The album was produced by Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera - a rare such credit for him, and he does a fine job. Split Enz would soon recruit Tim Finn's younger bro' Neil to the line-up, and he brought a greater pop influence to bear, but on 'Second Thoughts'- basically a UK recording of their earlier Antipodean 'Mental Notes' album (the album was called 'Mental Notes' in the UK) with a couple of different tracks - the band hit an early peak. Thoroughly recommended.
O.K. So I've got the UK version and it's called Mental Notes, but it's the same album, and what a cracker it is. This is Enz before Neil, when they were still weird and interesting. There is no doubt that Neil brought with him some great songs for later albums and Enz took the decision to go for a more commercial approach which played dividends for while. However, they never again produced anything as unique as this. This album is on par with the first Roxy Album, with it's disregard for the contemporary Rock genre, taking in elements of rock n' roll, prog and music hall (particularly on the brilliant 'Woman who loves you') in the same way that Roxy incorporated 20's/ 30's/ 40's/50's lounge and do-wop into their kitsch sci-fi world. How many albums can you name that include wailing saxes, lush melotrons, mandolins, and 'spoons' and still sound as right as this. It takes true talent to throw so many things into the mix and make it sound this good, and Tim Finn and the rest of the band had talent in abundance. A true 'one off'. It may sound 'of its time' to modern ears, but truly good music never sounds 'dated', just 'classic', and that seems a perfectly apt description of this album in my opinion, although it must be said it is an opinion it would appear to place me in a minority. I'm not always right, but I would argue the case in this instance.
British version of the first Enz album. Originally (and aptly) called 'Mental Notes'.
Another reviewer mentioned the first Roxy Music album. It was a very apposite link. Like that first Roxy album, this was a breath of fresh air. There had been nothing QUITE like it and yet there was something familiar about lots of it. It was your bother with your sister's eyes. Or your best friend smiling like your mother might. It was folk, it was vaudeville, it was rock, it was prog. It was twisted and quite, quite wonderful.
It's a shame that there was another link to Roxy Music (no, not Phil Manzanera's production). Like Roxy, Split Enz's second UK album was far more slick and just a tad less interesting. And, like Roxy, from the third album on, it was a race for tedium, blandness and success. I don't blame The Enz wanting success. After all, they had made one great and one nearly great album which is far more than be claimed by many bands. But I do wish that their success had come on the strength of wonderful music like this rather than dullness that was to come.
Nearly 35 years on I still think of the live shows where Split Enz came on stage looking like a flock of diseased parrots and playing this brilliant stuff. I urge veryone to give this album a listen (this AND the Os version AND Disrhythmia). It will be time well spent.
This marvellous album brims with originality and is recognisably of it's time whilst still being an hugely enjoyable listen today. It is essentially a much improved production of their debut antipodean Mental Notes album, hence the name. Second Thoughts greatly improves the quality of the original as well as bringing some vocals and instruments that were largely lost to their rightful place in the balance. There are some great songs in here that hook straight away whilst the sheer quality and depth reward many repeat playings. Get this while it is still available - especially if you haven't yet heard the Stranger than Fiction / Time for a Change opus - arguably the best piece of music ever created by Split Enz or Crowded House - and that is saying something!
although later albums were a greater success, this "UK" version of Mental Notes is probably their best. Very diverse from vaudeville to prog rock. one of my all time favourite albums,give it a whirl ,plenty in there for everyone catchy tunes and mental bits. you won't be disappointed
This is a little gem of an album. It is quite different in style from the later Enz albums. The songs range from short, folksy types such as Titus, to more expansive, weird stuff like Stranger Than Fiction. As well as the usual rock instruments, the album features mandolins, trumpets, spoons and various sound effects/collages. The style of the music is highly theatrical, quite whacky at times, but always with a sinister undertone.
I had this (then titled Mental Notes) on vinyl and I'd almost given up being able to find it on CD - I much prefer this version of the album which they retitled Second Thoughts - shows off their unique and quirky style and ability to write powerful songs demanding attention. Great stuff!
These tracks were issued as the Mental Notes album in the UK in 1976 (?).
This album (re-named Second Thoughts, but it is the original UK Mental Notes) is made up of some of the tracks from the original Oz version of Mental Notes, but those few tracks were then re-recorded with Roxy's guitarist Phil Manzenera producing. Then various other new tracks replaced some of the orignal Mental Notes (Oz version) songs to make a new version of that 1st Split Enz record.
A great alsbum with wonderful live shows to promote it in clubs around the UK.
This UK version of Mental Notes is really worth getting and is very different to the Oz version of Mental Notes.