The Bleeding Allstars: Uneasy Listening (Thokei Tapes/bandcamp)

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Oh It's Been Forever
The Bleeding Allstars: Uneasy Listening (Thokei Tapes/bandcamp)

When the former members of Sneaky Feelings – one of the finest and musically most durable of the first wave of Flying Nun – found themselves in close proximity after many decades they reformed and delivered the damn fine Progress Junction.

The Sneakies major weapon was having a number of songwriters in their ranks and here one of them, David Pine, steps out under a band pseudonym (although he plays everything himself) for a collection which is as delightful and amusing as it is quirky and Beatlesque.

The opener The Big Bang is a whimsical and sharp pop song which samples Philip Larkin's poem Annus Mirabilis (“Sexual intercourse began in 1963 . . . between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles' first LP”) and later there is the Ringo-styled country-lite MOR In Beatle Heaven which is full of in-jokes about a Fab Four reunion in the afterlife (where each reverts to type).

In other hands (these for example) this could be just stupid fan-boy stuff but Pine brings wry wit which gets it through.

There is a neat cover here: the Tall Dwarfs' Love or Loveliness which is shaped into a very cool slice of guitar-jangle lo-power pop gone psychedelic. And he revisits his old Sneakies track Trouble with Kaye.

There's boogie-woogie piano driving Winning! (“I don't like cheating but I don't like losing either, but I've got used to it over the years and I'm not gonna lose anymore”). And there's astute suspicion and seemingly revelatory yearning on Oh It's Been Forever which has a lyric as refined as anything by Nick Lowe: “Could be she just smells my money . . . she's found me . . . it's been forever since someone wanted me . . she should be meeting the man I used to be”.

David Pine is an intelligent songwriter (check the lovely Pasifika sound of Uketasia) who here is enjoying himself as much as crafting lo-fi pop and ballads.

It's been sounding great over summer and is worth seeking out so you can have friends say approvingly, “Hmm, who is this?”

Available through Thokei Tapes on bandcamp.

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