(Half A Cow)
Sneeze do a complete u-turn from the soul sounds of 2001's Lost The Spirit To Rock & Roll and come up with a sprawling, crazed and defiant 20-track ode to Rock & Roll. The recording of Just The Blues Sped Up dates back to 1998 when Sneeze planned to trump their 41 Songs In 47 Minutes album with a 50-tracker. Realising that they didn't need to prove for a second time that they could put out a record crammed with short tunes, instead all the sad, sweet soul songs were assembled into Lost The Spirit To Rock & Roll and the more upbeat Rock & Roll ones were reserved for the next one. And that album has now arrived. If Lost The Spirit were a melancholic love-sick woman, then Just The Blues Sped Up is her out-of-control teenage lover.
With a solidified line-up of guitarist Tom Morgan, multi-instrumentalist Nic Dalton, drummer Simon Gibson plus bassist Bill Gibson and keyboard wizard Cameron Bruce, the bulk of Just The Blues Sped Up was completed in 2003 with special guests - such as Leticia Nischang, original Sneeze drummer Lara Meyerratken, You Am I's Russell Hopkinson, John Encarnacao and Ben Whitten - filling in some of the blank
spaces along the way. The album had its ups and downs, for example in the last few months of recording when Nic had a brain haemorrhage and Tom and Leticia got married. Huh?
Some of the songs are old standards from when Sneeze first started playing live in 1996 - 'Going Skiing, Pretty Weird', 'When Honey Snaps' and 'Loud & True' - to more recent crowd faves such as 'Dress Ups' and 'That Man's My Weakness'. The album also contains the recent Triple J and FBi summer hit 'If It's Catchy It Means You Stole It' which features backing vocals courtesy of Treetops' Ben and Jordan and the audience at the Annandale Hotel on June 13th, 2003.
To set the pace, the album starts off with the 6-and-a-half-minute 'On Again, Off Again' which was a song that had its genesis in a dream. Nic dreamt that You Am I were playing at a party where they decided to write a reply to the Beatles 'Got To Get You Into My Life'. They started playing the main riff and opening line, which, when he woke up, Nic sang into a Walkman - this eventually became 'On Again, Off Again'. This song also features the debut of Sneeze's new secret weapon: the fuzzwah mandolin. That's it playing the solo. Hey, they're not shy!
Sneeze take a quick breather with the next song, Tom's country-rock-flavoured 'Might As Well Chalk It Up' which contains the banjo talents of Sydney's own Jenny Shimmin. Bill Gibson takes centre-stage on '(Take The) Headache Over Heartache', his vocal style being perfectly suited to this classic 70s AM Radio hit about a guy who'd rather drown his sorrows with a bottle of booze than worry about his broken heart.
Okay, there just ain't the room here in this bio to write about all 20 songs on the new Sneeze longplayer Just The Blues Sped Up so if you want to know what the songs are about, you're just gonna have to work it out on your own! Oh, and there's also a mini-rock opera in tracks 12 to 19 about a heartbroken guy who goes from a party to a few clubs and ends up on the ski slopes. Right. Who said Rock & Roll had to make complete sense?
1. On Again, Off Again
2. Off Again, On Again
3. Might As Well Chalk It Up
4. (Take The) Headache Over Heartache
5. (When We Were Kids We Played) Dress Ups
6. The Play Up
7. That Man's My Weakness
8. Too Much...Information
9. When Honey Snaps
10. Sv¥chers Dü
11. Loud & True
12. A Walk In The Park (Parts 1 & 2)
13. Ain't That Kinda Party
15. Heaven Tonight
16. High Heels
17. Singles Club
18. Climbing Chester Street
19. Going Skiing, Pretty Weird
20. If It's Catchy It Means You Stole It