How do you explain a near thirty-year gap between albums? Perfectionism maybe ….. tardiness certainly…… but it is well worth the wait.
Sneaky Feelings, one of the original Dunedin Sound bands formed in the early 1980s return with a brand-new album of original songs.
Sneaky Feelings were drawn to a wider variety of musical styles than most early Flying Nun bands and were one of the first to experiment in the recording studio. Perhaps what drove the band to push the limits of a pop band has been the fact that all four members write songs. And while the band may have not played much over the years, the individual members have continued to hone their songwriting skills.
The twelve songs on Progress Junction were recorded over two years in bass player John Kelcher’s Christchurch studio. There was no plan when the band began recording, the four members just had a bunch of songs that suited the Sneaky Feelings sound and feel. As band put the album together they experimented by weaving in snippets of audio from New Zealand radio archives. Voices from the past started talking to the present.
True to the lost New Zealand egalitarian dream, each band member contributed three tracks, and although there was no grand design, each song reflects on an aspects of New Zealand life. The album starts with an invitation from the owner of a junk shop to inspect his treasures (Do You Like That Style?) and ends with Ghosts walking out of an abandoned town (Progress Junction). In between there are end of life decisions to be made at a retirement home (Castle of Dreams), celebration of friendship and summer (Summer Song), a warning against unnecessary entanglements (Other People's Lives), a plea for academics to stay true to their calling (Don't Come Down), and earthquakes……All the usual rock and roll subjects ….….. but are the band’s new preoccupations signs of maturity or symptoms of middle age decline? Do they amount to progress?
Wondering where the striking cover came from? Kelcher found a photo of four hard-living West Coast miners from the 1940s staring straight at the camera. When the band saw this haunting image it was like the past was staring straight at them – it had to be the cover.
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