Forenzics – Shades And Echoes (Warner Bros)

Forenzics is Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner who, along with a few friends, have sieved through classic Split Enz tunes and created 14 new tracks that are incredibly fresh and vibrant sounding.

Usually when we hear that a veteran artist is “revisiting” their old tunes, it means they’ve run out of new ideas. This is definitely not the case with Shades and Echoes.

ForenzicsAs the title implies, Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner have dug back into their Split Enz tunes and somehow managed to created new music out of snippets of old songs. For a more complete explanation please click here to watch the 13th Floor interview with Tim Finn.

In addition to Finn and Rayner, the additional “frenz” include Noel Crombie, Robert Gillies, Aussie singer Megan Washington, Raynor’s band Double Life and Roxy Music guitarist and Enz producer Phil Manzanera.

One other name that should be included is Brian Eno, who, according to the extensive liner notes that accompany the album, planted the germ of the seed of the idea back in 1976 when, hearing playback of Walking Down The Road, noted that a brief segment (found at approx. 3min 45 sec) might make a cool tune all on its own.

Now, 45+ years later it has. The result is Walking, the leadoff track of this wonderfully realized record.

For most of the songs here, Tim Finn has written and sung the lyrics and melodies while Eddie Rayner has produced the music. This was all during Covid, so files were traded, distance was kept. Yet somehow, despite , or maybe because of these restrictions, the resulting 14 tracks are the best things either of these two have been involved with in many a year.

And that’s saying something since the 69-year-old Finn only just recently released a new album with Phil Manzanera that was pretty darn good.

But this is something special.

Tim’s voice has never sounded better or more emotive. His lyrics are personal, yet universal, with plenty of Enz eggs to keep hard-core fans happy for months.

Meanwhile, Eddie Rayner’s production work is simply breath-taking…lush, inventive, dramatic and intimate.

Track two, Rules, is a perfect example. Finn’s lyric are inspired my memories of his father while Rayner’s music swells and ebbs underneath him. Megan Washington is on board to harmonize. And when you hear Tim sing, “I will wrap my arms around you, I’m so happy that I found you”, you’ll be in Forenzics heaven.

Elsewhere, Tim and Eddie sound like they are Puttin’ on the Ritz during the jazzy Unlikely Friend, while System Overload features Mark Denison’s fine, fluttering sax.

Europe Speaks is a dark tune recalling WWII, Tennyson and Baudelaire while citing “unburied corpses” …and speaking of Europe, Tim sings in French for the first time on Premier Fois while a funky groove dances all around him.

This is a rich, sumptuous album that will reveal new musical pleasures with each spin of the disc. Here’s hoping there’s more gold to be mined where these Shades and Echoes were found.

Marty Duda

Click here for more Forenzics