Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Quick Review Of The Splendid New Sneaky Feelings Reissue on Flying Nun/Captured Tracks

For all the deserved attention that bands like The Chills and The Verlaines justifiably receive, there are a few Flying Nun bands who never get the same deserved attention. One of those bands was Able Tasmans and the other was, clearly, Sneaky Feelings.

One of the band's featured on the legendary Dunedin Double EP, along with The Chills, The Verlaines, and The Stones, themselves the subject of another fine reissue from Captured Tracks, Sneaky Feelings were an act with a decided pop sense. They crafted easy-to-digest rock that seems now more like Crowded House than it does The Clean, for example.

In another impressive reissue, Caputured Tracks have now brought us an expanded version of the first Sneaky Feelings album. Send You has recently been re-released in splendid fashion with 7 bonus cuts. This is a marvelous release and an essential purchase for anyone into the New Zealand scene. Considering how many albums I've heard and own from The Clean, The Chills, and The Verlaines, I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I only had 2 other Sneaky Feelings albums in my collection prior to getting this set.

There are tracks here that will feel familiar to Chills fans ("Throwing Stones"), or Verlaines fans ("Strangers Again"), as well as tracks that seem more chiming than a lot of acts on the Flying Nun label in the early days. "Someone Else's Eyes", for example, charms in the style of early R.E.M. Of the 9 album tracks here on Send You most seem to find the band determining its own sound as they juggle those styles. That they do so usually successfully adds to the feeling a listener is sure to have that Sneaky Feelings should have been much more popular. As the album closes on the splendid "Everything I Want", there's a hint of The Clean here but with something sharper. The focus is refined and there's less interest in guitar-based explorations of tone and mood.

The truth is that Sneaky Feelings were a pop band which is nothing to be ashamed of. They remain a pretty good example of why people like me got so heavily into the acts on Flying Nun way back when precisely because the label managed to put out bands that were smart and not shy about writing Beatles-inspired guitar-based rock.

Of the bonus tracks on this edition of Send You, there are a bunch that are of note. There is "Be My Friend" from the single of the same name, then there are the 3 tracks of the "Husband House" EP, including the marvelously catchy title track, and then there are another 3 bonus cuts recorded at a later date, including the Verlaines-like "Maybe You Need To Come Back" with keyboards from The Verlaines' own Graeme Downes. The cut closes this reissue in a perfect manner and seems to act as a sort of sonic bridge between this band and the more famous acts from that era of Flying Nun Records.

Send You from Sneaky Feelings is out now via a partnership between Captured Tracks and Flying Nun Records. I urge you to get it now and expand your knowledge of the initial boom of the seminal Flying Nun label from New Zealand.

(Picture of Sneaky Feelings from this site.)