|09-17-2008, 07:16 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Positively George Street by Sneaky Feelings
Sneaky Feelings were a 4 piece Pop band from New Zealand who spanned the 1980's and were in the vanguard of a New Zealand movement known as The Dunedin Sound. This review is of the only album that I have been able to purchase and is a compilation. A companion book, Positively George Street: A Personal History of Sneaky Feelings & The Dunedin Scene By band member Matthew Banister is also available.
Formed in 1980 and named after an Elvis Costello song they were signed by The Flying Nun label and released 3 albums of which the debut Send You is generally considered their best.
I initially read the companion book that was given to me by a good friend (Hi Little Ross) who was very much part of the scene. I found it a riveting read considering that I knew nothing about Sneaky Feelings and their music, so I was more than willing to track down a Sneaky album or two after finishing the book. It is written with dry humour and with a world weary view of the trials and tribulations of that long and arduous task of becoming a successful band. The Sneaky's failed in due course but had fun doing it by having a minor hit and even getting to tour Europe.
To the album. It consists of 22 songs. All are quirky and catchy and have a 60's Brit pop feel of say The Kinks and maybe even early Beatles. There is a hint of the West Coast sound of the late 60's. The Dunedin Sound was remembered chiefly for the jangly pop guitar and there is that aplenty with the Sneaky's but they differ slightly in my opinion in that they tend to craft their songs to be pop oriented than was general with most of their peers. My major criticism is their vocals. All members sang the songs that they wrote but sadly none of them were strong enough singers to carry the songs. The song Strangers Again is a prime example. A lovely slow paced pop song with a good hook and nice uncomplicated guitar work is let down by very poor vocals. Lack of studio time no doubt did not do the Sneaky's any favours.
Be that as it may the compilation contains some terrific songs that Ray Davis would have been proud of. The stand out song for me is Husband House. This reached a heady 16 on the New Zealand charts and deservedly so. A tale of settling down after travel and finding a wife. Other tracks to stand out are Hard Love, Walk To The Square, Better Than Before, Throwing Stones, Pit Song and even the very cheesy Dad And The Family Dog has a certain attraction.
This is not some hidden gem that should be looked into immediately as The Sneaky's certainly have their flaws but for those who may like to hear something a little different from an obscure band from a remote country in the South Pacific both the album and the book may make an entertaining listen and read. Considering the part that Sneaky Feelings played in the Dunedin Sound and Flying Nun records they are worth remembering.