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Omnivore Recordings 2015

Review by David Bowling


No one can actually pinpoint the exact date when the American indie rock movement was born but Sneakers release of their debut EP was close.

Guitarist Chris Stamey and drummer Will Rigby, who would go on to form the dB’s, plus bassist Robert Keely and guitarist Rob Slater formed Sneakers during 1975. Mitch Easter, Stamey’s friend since grammar school, also took part as a guitarist on four of the early tracks.

They were a band that spent more time rehearsing and recording than actually playing live. Stamey by this time was writing fairly sophisticated material but their ability in the recording studio was basic so the music has a raw and live feel.

This posthumous release (the band, not  the performers) is a combination of their original six-track EP and five later recordings.

“Ruby,” “Condition Red,” “Driving,” “Love’s Like A Cuban Crisis,” “On The Brink,” and “Nonsequitur” are primitive, yet contain quirky rhythms and melodies that make them interesting, especially for the time period.

Stamey and Easter reunited in 1992 with bassist Gene Holder and recorded four tracks that had been a part of the band’s concert set list. “Story Of A Girl,” “S’il Vous Plat,” Be My Ambulance,” and “Some Kinda Fool” reflect the passage of years yet are kept as simple as possible. The only cover song is a 2014 recording of “Let’s Live For Today.”

Sneakers is one of those rare bands whose influence far exceeded their ability at the time and commercial success. They helped establish a musical type that has grown into an ever burgeoning indie scene. Sneakers is a nice look back into history.

Rating: ***