Sneaky Feelings: The Mercury Moment (Flying Nun/digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Accept-Except Me
Sneaky Feelings: The Mercury Moment (Flying Nun/digital outlets)

For decades I wondered about that quote, “there are no second acts in American lives” (F. Scott Fitzgerald).

It's been taken to mean that you don't get a second chance, when quite clearly America is a society which allows for that, even in those decades before you made the public apology on Oprah and were forgiven your transgressions.

It could also mean – with reference to, say, Shakespeare's tragedies where the second act involves complications, machinations and signals the chaos to come – that Americans can live out lives blissfully free of emotional difficulty.

My inner jury is still out on that . . . but let's go with the consensus: you can't return for a second go, even when that is manifestly incorrect.

Sneaky Feelings are certainly enjoying a second act with their previous album in 2017 Progress Junction which appeared about three decades after their previous album Hard Love Stories . . . and now The Mercury Moment.

These two recent albums have come about because all the original members – Matthew Bannister, Martin Durrant, David Pine and John Kelcher – all found themselves back in the same country again.

Perhaps because Progress Junction came with such a frisson of the unexpected, that same doesn't apply here and this one takes more than a few listens for its little gems and references to weasel their way into the subconscious.

Some things hit immediately with their wit or ease: the slow grind Link Wray-like Rumble chords on Sun is Shining; the delightful and immediately familiar Autumn Song which is a blue-eyes soul-folk ballad; Silvercrest and Hilldale (clever syllabic inversion there for Aucklanders) with a cleverly appropriated riff and tightly wound, brief guitar solo; the driving pop of Punakaiki; the reflective ballad Better Plan about the uncertainty of aging and the future . . .

That final one is emblematic of an album which deals with Big Picture issues and ideas (Heavenly Bodies which comes down from the stars to communicating online) and also drills down into the world were are given . . . which isn't the one we might have expected or wished for.

“The future's already here” says Stardust Magical, and despite the song's uptempo chime it's not good. And this was written before Covid-19.

But there is also reconciliation and acceptance (the discreetly coded Last Letter to Eugenie) throughout. And the swirling Accept/Except Me is a creative highpoint.

There are weak spots (Goodnightmare, Billy Wild) but for most of this Sneaky Feelings' second act continues their return . . . and also comes with some rather subtle emotional complications laid out.

.

You can hear and purchase this album from Sneaky Feelings' bandcamp page here

.

ELSEWHERE ENCOURAGES ITS READERS TO SUPPORT NEW ZEALAND ARTISTS BY BUYING THEIR MUSIC DIRECTLY RATHER THAN STREAM THROUGH SPOTIFY WHERE THEIR RETURNS ARE NEGLIGIBLE


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Steve Gunn: Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

Steve Gunn: Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

In the late Sixties/early Seventies there were many acoustic/electric guitarists working the territory between British folk, Indian raga tuning and Middle Eastern sounds. But there are fewer... > Read more

Gram Parsons: Warm Evenings, Pale Mornings, Bottled Blues (Raven)

Gram Parsons: Warm Evenings, Pale Mornings, Bottled Blues (Raven)

As Australian compiler Glenn A. Baker notes in the essay accompanying this excellent 21-track, 75-minute collection, country-rock visionary Parsons was never embraced by country audiences back... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE . . . Elizabeth Stokes of the Beths

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE . . . Elizabeth Stokes of the Beths

With their fizzy, upbeat power-pop-cum-indie rock debut album Future Me Hates Me, Auckland Beths bounced straight into contention with one of the best albums of the year. It is unashamedly good... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Jackie Bristow

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Jackie Bristow

As a singer-songwriter, Jackie Bristow, formerly of the South Island, found her natural home in Austin many years ago. Her excellent Shot of Gold album of last year confirmed her as a... > Read more