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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sneakers - "Sneakers" Vinyl 10" EP Limited Edition (Omnivore Records)


Sometime in the 1970's, at the height of punk and power pop, I went to Bomp Records to look for something new, and this poorly shabby made 45 rpm cover by the band Sneakers caught my attention.   I think one of the songs titled "Love's Like a Cuban Crisis" made me decide to take a chance on it, and as a 7" 33 1/3 record, it had six songs.  Surely there must be one good song on this disc?    It took me an hour to get home, and once I put it on my turntable I realize that this record was a work of genius, and Sneakers were the greatest band in America.  40 and something years later, I still feel the same way about this record. 

Chris Stamey, the main Sneaker, strikes me now as the Roy Wood of American rock.  The textures of various guitars done all in what sounds like a mono mix are borderline chaotic.  It does remind me of early Move recordings, but entirely original in its love for pure pop done in a very dynamic mode, but smart as well.   I find it disturbing that Chris Stamey is not considered to be one of the greats in American music.  His later solo albums are brilliant as well - and it seems to me if there were no Stamey there would be no REM, and lots of the indie rock bands of the 1980s and so forth.  Stamey has the vision of Tom Verlaine with respect to his guitar skills and imagination and a superb songwriter.   Sneakers rule big time.