Split Enz - True Colours

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Split Enz - True Colours
Split Enz - True Colours.jpg
Studio album by Split Enz (alternative cover not for sale)
Released 25 June 1980
Recorded 1979
Studio Armstrong Studios, Melbourne
Genre New wave
Length 39:48
Label Mushroom Records (AUS)
Polydor (NZL)
A&M (International)
Producer David Tickle
Split Enz chronology
True Colours
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars
Smash Hits 5/10


   "True Colours", the fifth album released by New Zealand band Split Enz, was their first major commercial success. Released in 1980, the album featured more mature songwriting from Neil Finn. Credited to him is the album's New Zealand and Australian #1 single, "I Got You," which also broke them internationally. The US release of the album featured "Shark Attack" and "I Got You" in reversed positions due to the latter's success on the single charts.

Originally, the band thought "Missing Person" to be the album's standout track, not realizing "I Got You" would become the hit. "I Hope I Never" was mixed differently for the Australian single release, with strengthened percussion. "Nobody Takes Me Seriously," "What's the Matter With You" and "Poor Boy" were released as singles in the northern hemisphere.

The album cover was initially released in four colour combinations – yellow and blue, red and green, purple and yellow, and blue and orange – but would ultimately be given another four makeovers with releases in lime green and pink, hot purple and burnt orange, gold and platinum (to mark its sales milestones), and finally yellow, blue and red.

When it was later released on the A&M label, wild, imaginative shapes and patterns covered the vinyl using a technique known as "laser-etching". When light hit the record, these designs would protrude and spin about the room. The album was the first to ever use this technique, originally designed to discourage the creation of counterfeit copies.

A synthesizer melody played in "I Wouldn't Dream of It" was first introduced in an early Split Enz recording, aptly titled "The Instrumental".

True Colours was remastered by Eddie Rayner and re-released on two occasions. Firstly in 2003, and yet again with the rest of the Split Enz catalogue on 20 May 2006 with the bonus tracks: Things and Two Of a Kind. In October 2010, the album was listed at number 22 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums, despite being a New Zealand production.



Track listing

Close up of the laser etched A&M release

All tracks written by Tim Finn unless noted.

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Shark Attack" 2:52
2. "I Got You" (Neil Finn) 3:24
3. "What's the Matter with You" (N. Finn) 3:02
4. "Double Happy" ([Instrumental] Eddie Rayner) 3:15
5. "I Wouldn't Dream of It" 3:14
6. "I Hope I Never" 3:24
Side B
No. Title Length
7. "Nobody Takes Me Seriously" 3:32
8. "Missing Person" (N. Finn) 3:32
9. "Poor Boy" 3:19
10. "How Can I Resist Her" 3:26
11. "The Choral Sea" ([Instrumental] T. Finn, N. Finn, Rayner, Noel Crombie, Malcolm Green, Nigel Griggs) 4:29

NOTE: On the A&M version (SP-4822), tracks 1 & 2 are inverted. The listing above is the original Mushroom (AUS) / Polydor (NZ) listing.


True Colours Tour, Commodore Ballroom.


Reviewed in Roadrunner at the time of release, it was described as, "a thoughtful, reflective album. The approach to songs is more straight forward, more serious, than the Split Enz we are all used to."

Chart positions

Country Peak position
Australia 1
New Zealand 1
USA 40
UK 38
Canada 10



Split Enz

  • Tim Finn: vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Neil Finn: vocals, guitar
  • Noel Crombie: vocals, percussion
  • Malcolm Green: drums
  • Nigel Griggs: bass guitar
  • Eddie Rayner: keyboards



  • Produced and engineered by David Tickle
  • Assistant Engineer: Scott Hemmings
  • Recorded at Armstrongs, Melbourne 1979
  • "Two Of A Kind" Produced by Tim Finn and engineered by Doug Rogers
  • Recorded at Harlequin Studios, Auckland 1979
  • Cover Art: Noel Crombie
  • Design and layout: Traffic Design Studios
  • International Management – Nathan D. Brenner
  • Project Coordinators: Dean McLachlan, Peter Green




Split Enz - True Colours

UK A&M SP-4822 stereo (1980).

Album produced by David Tickle.

The vinyl record attains a strong excellent grading, suggesting few plays.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are free from tears, stains or stickers.

The album cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minimal signs of wear.

The original inner sleeve is excellently presented.

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