Sneaky Feelings: Send You

This 1983 debut effort by under-appreciated Flying Nun band, who were in the vanguard of the famed Dunedin Sound, is the latest to get the Captured Tracks reissue treatment.

Sneaky Feelings
Label: Flying Nun
Title: Send You
US Release Date: 2015-03-31
UK Release Date: 2015-03-30

A band whose ambitions outpaced their recording limitations, New Zealand’s Sneaky Feelings have been largely ignored when discussing the increasingly influential '80s Flying Nun roster. Much has been said about the tightly-coiled melodic contours of the Clean, and to a lesser extent the smart literate pop of the Verlaines -- both featured alongside them in the now seminal Dunedin Double LP -- but Sneaky Feelings were just as crucial in giving depth and vibrancy to a label that already bore a high number of nervy jangle heads. Notably ostracized by Flying Nun scribe Chrix Knox, who once referred to them as “bland and wimpy soft rock”, Sneaky Feelings weren’t a tough sell by any account. Their songwriting approach was perhaps too refined, and unabashedly sentimental, for a scene that, at least in their early stages, held a high standard for brazen discord rather than gentle elegance.

Recorded in the span of four days with minimal overdubs and very little studio trickery, Send You was practically built from the ground up from a series of live sessions. The descending chord progression that opens “Waiting for Touchdown” has the primal, calm antipathy of early Velvet Underground, balancing mournful balladry with rhythmic verve. At first they sound apprehensive, as if they’re figuring things out as they go along, but "Throwing Stones" quickly rectifies that with a gorgeous sprawl of cascading guitars that slowly unfurl with a floaty psychedelic sensibility.

That calm eeriness pervades throughout Send You, only mildly interrupted in its early half when they decide to explore more sophisticated, even modern, forms of pop. Vocalist Matthew Bannister bears all in the Brill Building-inspired "Strangers Again", which gives way to saccharine type of emotionalism juxtaposed with a solid melding of twangy chords. It precedes the slightly out-of-place “Someone Else’s Eyes”, a surging, bouncy rocker brimming with single potential that, more than anything, gives a hint of how they widened their scope a few years later starting with the release of Husband House EP. It doesn’t disrupt the album’s overall arch, however, an aspect that becomes immediately apparent once the final three tracks collide into each other in dramatic sequence. It ends with the southern-tinged mid-tempo swell of “Everything I Want”, a haunting elegy that brings forth a formidable counterchange of Byrds-ian folk and pop influences.

The deft songwriting of Send You is not entirely showcased considering the label’s limited recording resources at the time, so most of the multi-tracked harmonies on display (all four members were vocalists) are unfortunately obscured. While it’ll ultimately be left forgotten to any “deeper cuts” playlist of Flying Nun’s greatest hits, the contributions made by Sneaky Feelings in the early '80s are testaments to how the label subsequently morphed into merging lighter, more understated emotions with taut droning textures. The band went on to flirt with mainstream sensibilities further into their career before they disbanded in 1989, evoking a yearning for not wanting to repeat themselves by expanding their musical palette with chamber instruments. Their fruitful run was certainly short-lived, but thankfully, this reissue will serve as a reminder of how they were serious contenders who never ascended to the top tier.







Greta Gerwig's Adaptation of Loneliness in Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women'

Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women strays from the dominating theme of existential loneliness.


The Band's Discontented Third LP, 1970's 'Stage Fright', Represented a World Braving Calamity

Released 50 years ago this month, the Band's Stage Fright remains a marker of cultural unrest not yet remedied.


Natalie Schlabs Starts Living the Lifetime Dream With "That Early Love" (premiere + interview)

Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.


Rufus Wainwright Makes a Welcome Return to Pop with 'Unfollow the Rules'

Rufus Wainwright has done Judy Garland, Shakespeare, and opera, so now it's time for Rufus to rediscover Rufus on Unfollow the Rules.


Jazz's Denny Zeitlin and Trio Get Adventurous on 'Live at Mezzrow'

West Coast pianist Denny Zeitlin creates a classic and adventurous live set with his long-standing trio featuring Buster Williams and Matt Wilson on Live at Mezzrow.


The Inescapable Violence in Netflix's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui)

Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.


Arlo McKinley's Confessional Country/Folk Is Superb on 'Die Midwestern'

Country/folk singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley's debut Die Midwestern marries painful honesty with solid melodies and strong arrangements.


Viserra Combine Guitar Heroics and Female Vocals on 'Siren Star'

If you ever thought 2000s hard rock needed more guitar leads and solos, Viserra have you covered with Siren Star.


Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts Honor Their Favorite Songs With "Oh No" (premiere)

Ryan Hamilton's "Oh No" features guest vocals from Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, and appears on Nowhere to Go But Everywhere out 18 September.


Songwriter Shelly Peiken Revisits "Bitch" for '2.0' Album (premiere)

A monster hit for Meredith Brooks in the late 1990s, "Bitch" gets a new lease on life from its co-creator, Shelly Peiken. "It's a bit moodier than the original but it touts the same universal message," she says.


Leila Sunier Delivers Stunning Preface to New EP via "Sober/Without" (premiere)

With influences ranging from Angel Olsen to Joni Mitchell and Perfume Genius, Leila Sunier demonstrates her compositional prowess on the new single, "Sober/Without".


Speed the Plough Members Team with Mayssa Jallad for "Rush Hour" (premiere)

Caught in a pandemic, Speed the Plough's Baumgartners turned to a faraway musical friend for a collaboration on "Rush Hour" that speaks to the strife and circumstance of our time.


Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."


The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.


Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.


The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.


Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.


King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.